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Resolution adopted by consensus by the IPU Governing Council at its 178th session
(Nairobi, 12 May 2006)

The Governing Council of the Inter-Parliamentary Union,

Having before it the case of Mr. Crispin Beltrán, a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines belonging to the Anakpawis party, which has been the subject of a study and report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians following the Procedure for the Treatment by the Inter-Parliamentary Union of Communications concerning Violations of the Human Rights of Members of Parliament,

Taking note of the report of the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which contains a detailed outline of the case (CL/178/12(b)-R.1),

Taking account of the communication from the Secretary of Justice dated 26 April 2006,

Also taking account of the information provided by a member of the Philippines delegation on the occasion of the 114th IPU Assembly held in Nairobi,

Considering the following information on file:

  • On 25 February 2006, Mr. Crispin Beltrán, a well-known and outspoken opposition member of the House of Representatives, “was invited” for questioning by police belonging to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG); at the CIDG, he was shown an arrest warrant on a rebellion charge dating back to 1985; although the police were told by his lawyer that the warrant, which stemmed from an inciting-to-rebellion case filed by the Marcos regime, had long been quashed, the police refused to release him; later that day, a case was filed against him for allegedly inciting to rebellion at a rally held on 24 February 2006 in commemoration of the ousting of the Marcos regime; counter-affidavits were issued stating that this was untrue and that Mr. Beltrán had never given any such speech; on 27 February and 4 March 2006, two new charges of rebellion were brought against him, one of conspiring with an army officer involved in a coup d’état attempt in 2003 and another one linking him with the Communist Party of the Philippines; on 23 March 2006, the Quezon City Metropolitan Court, which was handling the inciting-to-sedition case, ordered his release;

  • On 3 April 2006, Mr. Beltrán and his counsel filed a motion for quashing the inciting-to-sedition charge, and the relevant hearing is reportedly set for 29 May 2006; with regard to the rebellion charges, in response to the judge’s decision to resolve within 30 days the motion for the judicial determination of probable cause and urgent motion to release Mr. Beltrán or alternatively allow him to attend parliamentary sessions, Mr. Beltrán and his counsel have filed a motion to set for hearing and/or resolve the pending urgent motion and to allow the accused to be transferred to a hospital with adequate facilities; however, no decision appears so far to have been taken in this respect and Mr. Beltrán remains in detention without a valid arrest warrant,

Considering that Mr. Beltrán, who is 73 years old, suffers from high blood pressure and had a stroke in July 2005; owing to the proceedings launched against him, his blood pressure rose considerably and he was transferred to the National Hospital of the National Police Headquarters, where he is currently detained; he has been denied his request to be transferred to a hospital of his own choice and to be treated by doctors of his choosing,

Noting that, in his letter of 26 April 2006, the Secretary of Justice assured that the rights of Mr. Beltrán were not being violated, that he had been formally charged in court for breaking certain laws which affect national security, and that his current status was in accordance with the Rules of Procedure,

Considering that Mr. Beltrán’s arrest occurred in the following context: in the early morning of 24 February 2006, the military announced that it had foiled a plot to unseat President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; before noon of the same day, President Arroyo issued Presidential Proclamation 1017 placing the country under a state of national emergency and issued General Order 5 entitled "Directing the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the face of national emergency, to maintain public peace, order and safety and to prevent and suppress lawless violence". As a consequence, all rally permits issued to various groups by the Mayor of Manila were revoked; and the rallies of several groups, including that in which Mr. Beltrán participated, were indeed dispersed; on 3 March 2006, the widely criticized state of emergency was lifted; Order No. 5 has meanwhile been declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,

Bearing in mind that Article III of the Constitution of the Philippines contains a Bill of Rights which in its Sections 12 to 19 enshrines extensive fair trial guarantees, and that the Philippines is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and thus bound to respect the right to liberty and to fair trial, as enshrined in its Articles 9 and 14,

  1. Thanks the Secretary of Justice for his letter; but notes that it does not address the particular issues raised in this case;

  2. Expresses deep concern at the arrest and continuing detention of Mr. Beltrán, as well as at the charges brought against him, and observes the following in this respect:

    • Mr. Beltrán was arrested on the basis of a legally invalid arrest warrant; only later in the day of his arrest were inciting-to-sedition charges brought against him, and that only two and eight days, respectively, after his arrest were two charges of rebellion brought against him;

  3. Fears that this sequence of events suggests that there is little evidence against him;

  4. Notes further that no arrest warrants have reportedly been issued against Mr. Beltrán, and wishes to ascertain on the basis of what legal provisions he is at present detained;

  5. Recalls the principle of presumption of innocence, which implies that pre-trial detention should be the exception and as short as possible; consequently urges the authorities to release him forthwith, particularly in view of his state of health and the fact that the court in the inciting-to-sedition case ordered his release in March 2006;

  6. Would appreciate receiving a copy of the indictments issued against Mr. Beltrán;

  7. Wishes to ascertain any steps the House of Representatives may have taken to ensure respect for the constitutionally enshrined procedural guarantees in Mr. Beltrán’s case;

  8. Requests the Secretary General to convey this resolution to the parliamentary and other competent authorities, inviting them to provide the requested information;

  9. Requests the Committee to continue examining this case and report to it at its next session, to be held during the 115th IPU Assembly (October 2006).
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