Monday, March 13, 2006

Court orders release of Congressman Beltran

Court orders release of Congressman Beltran
First posted 11:37am (Mla time) Mar 13, 2006
By Tetch Torres

(UPDATE) ANAKPAWIS Representative Crispin Beltran has been ordered released by a lower court judge, citing the legislator’s parliamentary immunity, his lawyer said Monday.

Quezon City Court Judge Evangeline Castillo-Marigomen, hearing the inciting to sedition charges filed against Beltran, found that there was no basis for detaining Beltran on inciting to sedition charges, the legislator’s lawyer, Romeo Capulong, said Monday.

"He is entitled to be released. We are just waiting for the written order from the court," Capulong said in a phone interview.

Capulong added that the court also used as basis Article 6 of the Constitution that guaranteed parliamentary immunity to members of Congress.

Beltran was arrested on February 25, a day after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of national emergency following the military's discovery and thwarting of an alleged coup against the President.

But it was not clear if the police would carry out the release order as Beltran still faces other charges including rebellion before the court, said Liza Ito, press information officer of the QC court.

Elmer Labog, head of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center, said Beltran is still being detained on rebellion charges arising from his alleged attendance in a plenum of the Communist Party of Philippines from August 1992 to February 1993.

Charges of sedition stemmed from his alleged participation in a supposed foiled plot to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last February.

“Government agents claimed that he met with members of the New People's Army and rightist rebels before February 24, 2006, but the House journal proved that he was in various committee hearings and functions,” Labog said.

“He supposedly uttered seditious statements against Arroyo during the rally on the 20th Edsa People Power anniversary last February 24. Ka Bel never spoke in that rally. I did,” he said.

Beltran is detained at the maximum-security Custodial Center at the Camp Crame police general headquarters.

Labog said the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement), is planning to hold a rally at Plaza Miranda on Friday to protest the continued detention of Beltran, former KMU chief and its chairperson emeritus. But he said the Manila City government had refused to give them a rally permit.

Ofelia Balleta, Beltran's daughter appealed to authorities that her 73-year-old father be released. She said Beltran is a diabetic and has suffered a mild stroke last year. With Veronica Uy,; DJ Yap, Inquirer

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