Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chronology of Ka Bel's unjustified arrest and detention


*24 February 2006*

Ka Bel joins the commemoration of Edsa, People Power 1 together with various groups at the Edsa Shrine. Ka Bel stays with the AP group while Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) leads the program.

Earlier that day, the Philippines is declared under a State of National Emergency by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after they discover an alleged coup being planned by disgruntled military officials of the Armed Forces of the Philppines. She announces the revocation of all rally
permits and orders the dispersal of protest actions commemorating the popular uprising of 1986.

The group led by BAYAN at the Edsa Shrine is violently dispersed by policemen with water cannons, clubs and truncheons. They all leave peacefully and march towards Ayala, Makati through Ortigas Avenye to join other opposition groups holding a separate program.

*25 February 2006 *

While preparing to leave home for a press conference in Quezon City, Beltran, accompanied by his wife Rosario and four other companions aboard their vehicle, is apprehended at around 10:10 a.m. at the gate of San Francisco III Subdivision, Muzon, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan by a fully-armed team of Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) personnel led by Maj. Rino Corpus.

Beltran was "invited" for questioning by the police operatives and was brought to the CIDG office in Camp Crame. At the CIDG, Beltran is shown and served an alias warrant dated 7 October 1985, issued by Judge Edgardo Tutaan of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch LXXXIV, by virtue of a rebellion case filed against him then.

At around 11:00 a.m, Atty. Remigio Saladero visits Beltran and demands his immediate release, on the grounds that the arrest and detention was illegal. Saladero demanded that the matter be elevated to the office of PNP Director-General Arturo C. Lomibao. This request was, however, denied.

At around 5 pm, Beltran's lawyers write a letter to Gen. Lomibao, stating the circumstances of Beltran's illegal arrest and demanding his immediate release.

Atty. Saladero is shown a photocopy of the alleged warrant of arrest. He informs Rep. Beltran's custodians that the case referred to in the warrant was also already dismissed and quashed in 1988, and that Rep. Beltran was already given amnesty under the Aquino administration. Despite this, defense lawyers could not immediately produce the said documents since it was a weekend. Beltran was forced to spend the night inside the CIDG.

Anakpawis sends a letter to the House of Representatives, urging House Speaker Jose de Venecia to intercede in Beltran's warrantless arrest earlier this morning , citing Beltran's parliamentary immunity as a member of Congress.

That night, Ka Bel was brought to the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City for another case being filed against him � inciting to sedition, for allegedly speaking during the February 24 Rally mentioned above and for inciting the public to rebel and overthrow the Arroyo government. His cash bond was posted at P12,000.00.

Beltran's lawyers object to the inquest proceeding and his further detention, invoking Beltran's constitutional privilege of immunity from arrest for alleged crimes punishable by not more than six years of imprisonment (Section 11, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution), under which the charge of sedition was classified.

Inquest prosecutors from the QC RTC reject this defense of parliamentary immunity and proceed with the inquest, which lasted until 2:00 AM.

Two of his colleagues and staff issued their counter-affidavits stating that this was a big lie. They vouched that Ka Bel remained with them together with the rest of the audience during the entire program and that even when he had to go up the stage, he never held the mike to give a speech.

Inquest Prosecutor Ben V. de la Cruz resolved to file the sedition case, and recommended bail of P12,000.

*26 February 2006 *

Examining physicians Drs. Reginaldo Pamugas and Dr. Melani Hernandez-Siozon examined Cong. Beltran at the Custodial Center of the Philippine National Police.

Their diagnosis includes findings of moderate Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus type 2, T/C Coronary Artery Disease, Cardiomegaly, S/P Cerebrovascular Accident, S/P Thoracen, and T/C Gouty Athritis. Their recommendations include (1) avoiding stressful
conditions, (2) a low fat, low salt diet, (3) monitoring and control of blood pressure, (4) laboratory work-up, (5) medications, and (6) further evaluation and management, preferably in a tertiary hospital.

*27 February 2006*

Beltran's lawyers proceed to the Docket Section of the Quezon City Court and learn that the sedition case has not been filed yet. They learn shortly after that Inquest Prosecutor de la Cruz reversed his earlier decision, and recommended in an amended resolution the dismissal of the case, subject to the approval of First Assistant Prosecutor Meynardo Baustista or City Prosecutor Claro Arellano.

Beltran's lawyer UN Ad Litem Judge Romeo Capulong immediately went to the CIDG thinking that Beltran as going to be released that day. However, he learned that Ka Bel was going to undergo another inquest.

In Camp Crame, Beltran, whose health has been deteriorating due to his illegal detention since February 25, was suddenly informed by the CIDG that he would be brought to the PNP General Hospital (GH) for a medical check-up. But instead of being brought to a doctor, Beltran was summoned to the CIDG office for a "re-inquest" by Senior State Prosecutor Emannuel Velasco
from the Department of Justice.

Beltran is charged with rebellion in conspiracy with 2nd Lt. Lawrence San Juan, a soldier belonging to the Magdalo group and was involved in the Oakwood coup in 2003. San Juan escaped detention a month ago but was recaptured in Batangas a few weeks after. Acting Deputy Director of the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management Police Chief Superintendent Rodolfo B. Mendoza, Jr. transmitted a letter to the Department of Justice through Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito R. Zuno, submitting 'pertinent records of investigation relative to the case for violation of Article 134 in relation to Article 135 of the Revised Penal Code (Rebellion'Insurrection) against 49 individuals (including Anakpawis Reps. Crispin Beltran and Rafael Mariano), others related to the JASIG's list, and several other John and Jane Does' [Criminal Case No. 132943]

This irks Ka Bel and Atty. Capulong, prompting them to walk out from the inquest proceedings. Beltran's blood pressure shots up to 180/120. Beltran is restrained and detained together with other common criminals at the PNP Custodial Center inside Camp Crame.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives adopts Resolution No. 1169, or Resolution Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to Uphold the Rights of Its Members and Extending Protection to Them.

*28 February 2006 *

The Public Interest Law Center (PILC), through Attys. Romeo T. Capulong, Rachel F. Pastores, and Amylyn B. Sato presents a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Jose de Venecia urging that Cong. Beltran be immediately placed under his protective custody.

As per House Secretary-General Roberto P. Nazareno's directive dated February 28, Dr. RIzaline Figueroa-Lagman of the House of Representatives Medical-Dental service visit the CIDG to check Cong. Beltran's medical condition at around 3:00 p.m. Dr. Lagman noted 'essentially normal
physical findings at the time of examination, and controlled state 1 hypertension'.

*2 March 2006 *

Beltran is rushed to the Emergency Room of the Philippine National Police General Hospital (PNP-GH) at around 11:30 AM for hypertension, with a blood pressure level of 170/100. He was admitted to the Room 1 of the PNP-GH at 12:15 p.m and has remained there ever since.

*4 March 2006*

Beltran is charged with another rebellion case, this time linking him with the Communist Party of the Philippines, alleging that he attended a plenum of the CPP from August 1992 to February 1993.

*5 March 2006 *

Family members, colleagues, supporters and friends are blocked from visiting Ka Bel when members of the PNP tried to stop them from trooping to the PNP General Hospital. Police close the gates of Crame for almost two hours to secure the place. No one is arrested.

*6 March 2006*

The *Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause* is filed by Beltran's lawyers and is heard at the Makati Regional Trial Court (MRTC) Branch 138 under Judge Sixto Marella, Jr (the case was originally assigned to the MRTC Branch 137 under Judge Jenny Lind Aldecoa-Delorino). Judge Marella orders Beltran's military custodians to escort him to the hearing tomorrow.

The FREE KA BEL MOVEMENT is launched at the University of the Philippines.

*7 March 2006 *

In his first public appearance at the second hearing held at the MRTC)\Branch 138 under Judge Marella, Beltran together with his lawyers led by Justice Capulong submit counter-evidence against the two rebellion cases charged against him. Failing to conclusively refute the counter-evidence, Prosecutor Velasco asks for 15 days more for them to present new evidences. He is given seven (7) days by Judge Marella to submit additional evidence against Beltran.

Ka Bel continues to be confined at the PNP General Hospital.

*9 March 2006*

Department of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales issues a statement refusing to release Beltran on humanitarian grounds.

*10 March 2006*

Beltran writes PNP Director-General Arturo Lomibao asking to attend Congress plenary sessions from March 13 to 15, in order to continue fulfilling his duties as Anakpawis congressman.

*13 March 2006*

The Municipal Trial Court of Quezon City Branch 43 issues a *Release Order*for Beltran on the grounds that his arrest was illegal, without probable cause, and violative of Beltran's parliamentary immunity from arrest for cases punishable by six years of imprisonment. The PNP and the DoJ, however, defy the QC MTC Release Order and refuse to release Beltran on the
grounds that another rebellion case is still filed against him at the MRTC.

*14 March 2006*

Beltran writes to PNP Director-General Lomibao demanding his release from PNP custody. The request is denied.

*20 March 2006*

Despite his unstable and high blood pressure, doctors at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital inform Beltran that he may be transferred any moment out of the police hospital and back into solitary detention at the PNP Custodial Center.

*24 March 2006 *

A hearing on the *Supplemental Motion* and *Motion for Release* was held at the MRTC. The DOJ prosecutors led by Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco attended the hearing. Prosecutor Velasco is given until March 29, 2006 within which to file his Comment on the Motions filed by Beltran's lawyers; on the other hand, Beltran's lawyers were required to submit a Memorandum. After the submission of the Comments and Memorandum, the case will be submitted for Resolution.


*3 April 2006 *

Beltran's lawyers file a *Motion to Quash* the Inciting to Sedition charge before the QC MTC Branch 43, under Judge Evangeline Marigomen. Judge Marigomen resets Beltran's arraignment to May 29, at 8:30 in the morning.

The MRTC Branch 137 delays its promulgation of a resolution on the *Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause *filed by Beltran's lawyers one month ago. After the thirty days (30) waiting period, MRTC Branch 137 Judge Jenny Lind Aldecoa-Delorino filed for a thirty (30) day extension of the resolution, in effect prolonging his illegal detention in Camp Crame.

An *Omnibus Motion* aiming to effect the release of Cong. Beltran on humanitarian grounds was also filed at the MRTC.

*7 April 2006 *

MRTC Branch 137 hearing on *Omnibus Motion* pleading to resolve the pending urgent Motion of Release and to allow Beltran to be transferred to a hospital with adequate facilities. Beltran pleads that he be *immediately released* or be allowed to avail himself of the *protective custody* of the House of Representatives and be *transferred to a hospital* with adequate facilities.
* *
Senior State Prosecutors Emmanuel Velasco, Aileen Marie Gutierrez, and Joselita Mendoza filed an Opposition to the Omnibus Motion, praying that the Makati Court deny the said Motion. Judge Delorino gives the DOJ prosecution team and PNP until April 12 to comment on the medical findings presented by Beltran's lawyers.

Beltran's lawyers present the following medical reports affirming his ill health: a Psychiatric Evaluation prepared by Dr. Michael P. Sionzon recommending Beltran's transfer to another hospital outside the PNP premises in order to lessen his prevailing anxiety and recurring nightmares of being tortured or assassinated; a Medical Report issued by cardiologist Dr. Roberto A. Raymundo of the Philippine Heart Center and another Medical Report issued by Health Action for Human Right (HAHR) physicians Dr. Romeo F. Quijano, Reginaldo L. Pamugas, and Melani Hernandez-Sionzon.

*17 April 2006 *

Judge Aldecoa-Delorino of MRTC Branch 137 issues a favourable resolution on the prayer to transfer Beltran to a private hospital with adequate facilities and doctors to address his medical problems, provided that the expense for such treatment and/or confinement shall be at Beltran's expense.

In the same resolution, however, Judge Aldecoa-Delorino, denied the *Motion to Release Accused Crispin Beltran *with Alternative Prayer to Allow Him to Attend Plenary Sessions and Committee Hearings of Congress and the alternative prayer to have Beltran placed under the protective custody of the House of Representatives.

*25 April 2006*

The MRTC issues the implementing order for Beltran's transfer to the Philippine Heart Center.

*26 April 2006*

The PNP transfers Beltran to Room 427 of the Philippine Heart Center.

*04 May 2006 *

Judge Delorino hears and grants motion to strike out prosecution's amended information, saying that it cannot be admitted as an amended but rather a *new* information.

*08 May 2006 *

Prosecution files motion to inhibit Judge Delorino for alleged lack of impartiality. They allege Delorino to have decided in favour of the respondents with undue haste.

*10 May 2006*

Judge Delorino, despite denying lack of impartiality and deciding in undue haste, issues order to inhibit without resolving pending motion to determine probable cause

*12 May 2006*

Prosecution files the rejected amended information as new information with the Makati Regional Trial Court. The information implicate, among others, the Batasan 5 and leaders of progressive organizations.

*15 May 2006*

The new information (Batasan 5 and progressive leaders case) is raffled and goes to Judge Quilala of Branch 57. The old information (Ka Bel case) is re-raffled and goes to Judge Jaja Moya of Branch 147.

PILC files motion for reconsideration on Delorino's inhibition order, praying that the Court "reconsider and set aside its Order dated 10 May 2006 and proceed to hear and decide the case."

*16 May 2006 *

The Batasan 5 file omnibus motion to dismiss with alternative prayer to suspend proceedings and to conduct hearing to determine probable cause, on grounds that the information suffers from fatal defects and that the case lacks probable cause. Outright dismissal of the information is sought as it is a mere rehash of the rejected information which violates due process rights of respondents. Another basis for its dismissal is the prosecution failed to comply with Rule 112, Section 4 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure which requires prosecution to personally examine all witnesses therein stated; the Information also lacks the required signature of the
Chief State Prosecutor. The Batasan 5 asks for suspension of proceedings as they are still awaiting the Supreme Court's resolution on their petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for a TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction.

*18 May 2006 *

DOJ files written opposition (via mail) to Ka Bel's Motion for Reconsideration (MRTC received copy early on May 19).

DOJ files Motion to Consolidate the two information with the Makati RTC Branch 57, which it requested to be heard on May 24 at 10am.

*19 May 2006 *

Prosecution panel fails to appear before the Court for the hearing on Ka Bel's MR. Jude Delorino informs Ka Bel's counsel of the prosecution's written opposition, to which counsel was given that same day as deadline for submitting a reply.

*22 May 2006 *

Hearing on Batasan 5's Omnibus Motion to Dismiss Information was postponed and reset to May 29, 10am.

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