UPDATE (Philippines): Continued illegal detention of an arrested labour leader
March 7, 2006
UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION- URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Update on Urgent Appeal
7 March 2006
[RE: FA-006-2006: PHILIPPINES: Arrest of a labour leader subsequent to state of national emergency declaration]
UP-041-2006: PHILIPPINES: Continued illegal detention of an arrested labour leader
PHILIPPINES: Arbitrary arrest and detention of a labour leader; denial of constitutional rights of a detained person; solitary confinement; arbitrary use of power by the police; defects in the prosecution system
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received further information from a reliable source regarding the continued illegal detention of a labour leader, Crispin Beltran (73), following his arrest on 25 February 2006. Beltran was arrested by police authorities allegedly led by Senior Inspector Rene Corpuz of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police by strength of an arrest warrant involving a case in 1985 which has already been dismissed. Beltran was arrested a day after the Presidential Proclamation 1017, which placed the entire country under a State of National Emergency. The proclamation was lifted on March 3.
According to information received, Beltran was denied his right to a preliminary investigation. After it was found that the arrest warrant served on him is already non-existent, he was not released. Instead, he was subsequently charged with inciting sedition and rebellion. The charges filed on him, however, exceeded beyond the allowable 36 hours upon arrest according to law.
On 2 March 2006, Beltran was taken to the Philippine National Police (PNP) general hospital at the PNP National headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City due to hypertension or high blood pressure. It is reported that prior to Beltrans confinement at the hospital, he was solitarily confined at the detention cell of CIDG custodial. Beltrans wife, Rosario (64), was denied a visit on March 1.
Although the authorities who took custody of Beltran soon after allowed visits, there are incidents wherein his staff and supporters have been barred from entering the hospital. Beltrans staff are finding it difficulty to serve documents to him which require his signature from the House of Representatives to which he is a member. They were also allegedly harassed and intimidated by police authorities securing the area. Beltran is presently confined at the PNP general hospital.
On 6 March, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Makati City postponed a hearing for Motion for the Determination of Probable Cause on Beltrans case. It is reported that the prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DoJ) did not show. In the afternoon of the same day, a coalition of various groups launched the Free Ka Bel (Beltran) Movement at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City. The group is calling for Beltrans immediate unconditional release.
Please write letters to the authorities below and raise your concern regarding the irregularities taken by government agencies, in particular the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) in their handling of Crispin Beltrans case. Beltran must be released without delay if there are no grounds to warrant his prolonged detention. His family, staff and supporters must be allowed visits without being harassed and intimidated by the authorities. He must be afforded with adequate medical attention while in detention.
PHILIPPINES: Continued illegal detention of an arrested labour leader
Name of victim: Crispin Beltran (73), a member of the House of Representatives representing party list Anakpawis
Arresting officers: Senior Inspector Rene Corpuz of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
Place of victims present detention: Philippine National Police (PNP) General Hospital
Date of incident: 25 February to present
I am writing to draw your attention to the case of Crispin Beltran, a member of the House of Representatives who was illegally arrested and is presently being detained. I am aware that Beltran was arrested by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by Senior Inspector Rene Corpuz on 25 February 2006, a day after Proclamation 1017 was declared, by strength of an arrest warrant in 1985, which has already been dismissed.
I am extremely disappointed by the alleged arbitrary use of authority by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) in this particular case. Instead of releasing Beltran after the arrest warrant served on him was found to have been non-existent, he continued to be detained and was subsequently charged beyond the allowable period of 36 hours following arrest. I am deeply concerned by the denial of Beltrans constitutional right to preliminary investigation.
I am deeply concerned by the alleged irregularities and improper handling by the PNP and the DOJ in Beltrans case. I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the concerned government agencies arbitrary use of authority, thus violating the provisions of the 1987 Constitution and the Republic Act (RA) 7438. To deprive an individual of their constitutional right in any circumstance is totally unacceptable.
Furthermore, I have also learned that authorities are allegedly harassing and intimidating several persons who are visiting Beltran at his detention cell and at the hospital. It is even reported that his wife, Rosario, was denied a visit on March 1. Such an act by authorities clearly violates Section 2 (f) of RA 7438 allowing visits to detainees.
I urge you to consider withdrawing the charges against Beltran and ensure that he is released unconditionally if it is found that there are no grounds to warrant his continued detention. The authorities concerned must be investigated to answer to the allegations against them. They must be held accountable for their actions if the allegations are true. I also request you to ensure that Beltran is afforded with adequate medical attention to ensure his health while in detention.
I trust that you will take immediate action in this case.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Ms. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
2. Mr. Orlando Casimiro
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and
Other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman (1104)
Tel: +632 926 9032
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
3. P/DIR Gen. Arturo Lumibao
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Tel: +63 2726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763
4. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
6. Ms Leila Zerrougui
Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Attn: Mr Miguel de la Lama
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTENTION: WORKING GROUP ARBITRARY DETENTION)
7. Mr. Leandro Despouy
Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
Att: Sonia Cronin
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9160
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR INDEPENDENCE JUDGES & LAWYERS)
8. Professor Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Mr.Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 9179016 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR TORTURE)
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (firstname.lastname@example.org)