We in the Artists for the Removal of Gloria (ARREST Gloria) manifest our complete solidarity with Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, the Free Ka Bel Movement (FKBM), and all his friends and supporters on this occasion of Hangad ay Kalayaan, a concert organized as part of the campaign for his freedom.

As artists, we hold sacred the freedom of expression ‐ which is one of the highest on the list of civil liberties. As lawyer and historical conservationist Trixie Angeles said, “Without freedom of expression there can be no artist.”

If there is anyone who can be considered a symbol of how wantonly the state presently violates civil liberties, including the freedom of expression, it is none other than Representative Beltran.  

The 73-year-old labor leader-turned-legislator was arrested on Feb. 25, a day after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued Proclamation No. 1017 which declared the country as being in a state of national emergency ‐ on the basis of a supposed coup attempt which the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had earlier claimed to have thwarted.

When he was arrested, he was told he was merely being invited. It was only upon reaching Camp Crame that he was shown the warrant that would serve as the basis for his arrest ‐ a warrant of arrest for a rebellion case filed against him by the Marcos dictatorship ‐ which was dismissed during the time of the Aquino administration.

Much has been made of the supposed lifting last March 3 of Proclamation No. 1017 ‐ the proclamation that allowed Representative Beltran’s patently illegal arrest and detention.  

Nearly a month after March 3, Representative Beltran continues to languish in jail ‐ proving to be much less fortunate than the other oppositionists who were arrested since Proclamation No. 1017 was issued. Each time the courts order his release, the Philippine National Police (PNP) manages to produce a new case against him. The PNP would not even grant his release on humanitarian grounds, in utter disregard of his precarious medical condition.

Representative Beltran is suffering all these and only because he has consistently dared to take the side of the people from whom he sprung in debates on issues of pressing national concern. He is guilty of no crime except that of serving the people, and for this he is treated worse than the common criminal.

We condemn to high heavens this continuous violation of Representative Beltran’s human rights ‐ which in more ways than one showcases the brazen trampling of the people’s basic democratic rights ‐ including the freedom of expression ‐ by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

We add our voices to the clamor for Representative Beltran’s release. We call for an end to the open fascist rule that the Macapagal-Arroyo regime has unleashed upon the people. We reiterate our call for President Macapagal-Arroyo’s removal from office.

Artists for the Removal of Gloria (ARREST Gloria)

April 1, 2006

Southern Tagalog Exposure + KASIBULAN Women Visual Artists’ Collective + KUMASA (Kulturang Ugnayan ng Manggagawa at Uring Anakpawis sa Timog Katagalugan) + ARTIST, Inc. (Arts Research and Training Institute in Southern Tagalog) + Kilometer 64 Poetry Group + Tambisan sa Sining + APLAYA (Artistang Pangkultura ng Mamamalakaya sa Timog Katagalugan) + UPLB Umalohokan + Pokus Gitnang Luson + Paolo Martinez + Andrea Muñoz + Gian Mayuga + Jeffrey Ferrer + Onin Tagaro + Bobby Balingit + Winnie Balingit + Lourd de Veyra + Dong Abay + Ninj Abay + Con Cabrera + Roselle Pineda + Heidi Takama + Boom Dizon + Rommel Lozano + Mary Rose Abano + Aba Dalena + Sari Dalena-Sicat + Gari Buenavista + Tudla Productions + ADIOS GMA-NCR

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