By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
21 February 2007
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, hereby express our wholehearted solidarity with and support for the eminent labor leader and legislator Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran who was the first chairperson of the ILPS International Coordinating Committee and is now the honorary chairperson of the ILPS.
We demand that he be released immediately from his unjust imprisonment. His right to life, liberty and parliamentary immunity must be respected. He has been arbitrarily imprisoned since 25 February 2006 when he was falsely accused of rebellion. A false witness claimed that he was present in a meeting on 20 February 2006 in a remote village of Batangas province to plot a military coup against the Arroyo regime while in fact he was in Congress participating in televised proceedings.
His health has deteriorated since his detention. He is now 74 years old and suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes and other ailments. For this reason, he is kept in a hospital room under tight security. And he is being required to pay personally for the hospital bills. It is not only he who is being persecuted and cheated. The people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants whom he represents in Congress, are being oppressed and deprived of representation.
Right now, Ka Bel is running for reelection as a member of Congress under the banner of the Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Party. He is prevented from consulting the people, especially his constituency, and from campaigning for genuine national independence, the rights and welfare of the working class, land reform, economic development, social justice and other issues. The US-directed Arroyo regime knows no bounds for its cruelty to Ka Bel and the people for whom he fights.
We condemn the unjust imprisonment of Ka Bel and all the injustices done to him by the Arroyo regime and its imperialist masters headed by the US. His persecution is a clear manifestation of the state terrorism being unleashed by the regime to repress the people and suppress their clamor for national freedom, democracy, social justice and human rights in all its dimensions.
We support the Kilusang Mayo Uno and the Free Ka Bel Movement in spearheading the nationwide protest actions on 26 February 2007 in the Philippines, including mass rallies, open air discussions and indoor fora, performances by mobile propaganda teams, wall posters and streamer hangings in factories and communities. We call on the ILPS-Philippines chapter to mobilize their forces in support of Ka Bel.
We urge all organizations of the ILPS outside of the Philippines to undertake any of the following actions: 1) Hold protest actions in front of the Philippine embassies and consulates; 2) Hold dialogues with Philippine ambassadors; 3) Send protest letters to the Philippine president and other concerned government agencies; and 4) Send solidarity messages to Rep. Crispin Beltran. You may undertake any other relevant actions you deem necessary and appropriate. ###