Saturday, May 06, 2006

Batasan 5 to leave house premises Monday

The Batasan 5 released a statement today announcing their intention to leave the premises of the House of Representatives on Monday, May 8. This is after the Makati Regional Trial Court strikes out the amended information in the rebellion case intended to be filed against them, meaning the case has no sufficient merits.

Here's the whole text of the joint statement issued by the 'Batasan 5':

May 6, 2006


We, the Batasan 5, have come to a decision. On Monday, May 8, we will leave, all five of us, the premises of the Batasan. We shall assert our freedom and our rights, both as legislators backed by the mandate of the people and as citizens, specifically against the political persecution of the Arroyo government.

In the same breath, we assert our innocence of the spurious charge of rebellion against us and some of our colleagues in the democratic mass movement. The serious charge is rendered so incredible and ridiculous by the sort of documentary evidence produced pell mell by the Philippine National Police and endorsed by the Department of Justice. In fact, Judge Jenny Lind R. Aldecoa-Delorino, in her resolution rejecting and striking out of the court records the amended information, comments that the ?numerous enclosures to the original information?­392 in all­? could hardly cover the width and breath of the detailed allegation raised.?

In brief, insufficient evidence!

Thus, as of this moment there is no case of rebellion against us filed in any court. Even if the DoJ will file a motion for reconsideration or a new information, as it publicly declared it would do, such charge cannot depart from the discredited heap of papers it had submitted to the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 137.

For more than two months, we have endured the situation wherein the House leadership and the Executive (through the DoJ-PNP ostensibly but, we suspect, through a sinister cabal higher up) cannot resolve the issue of which position must prevail. On the one hand, through HR 133, the House backed by the Senate through a similar resolution expressing the sense of Congress, the law-making body, aver we are not under arrest or detention but under protective custody, specifically, against illegal or warrantless arrest. On the other hand, the DoJ and the PNP, both implementing agencies of laws passed by Congress, claim we either have been arrested and are in detention or will be arrested once we step out of the premises of the Batasan. We have raised the issue for resolution at the Court of Appeals.

With the indulgence and hopefully the full support of our colleagues both in the House and the Senate, we shall uphold their collective position that we, the Batasan 5, are free to leave the Batasan premises and that Rep. Crispin Beltran must be freed.

The stand-off between the Executive and the Legislative over our case only exposes the highly undemocratic and anti-democratic tendency, if not the essential character of the Arroyo government. Under this government, we have to assert and bitterly fight for our rights and freedoms in order to exercise and enjoy them, no matter that­or precisely because­the assertion of our rights and freedoms are met by the government with deliberate repression and unrestrained violence.

We owe it to our people to assert these rights and freedoms that are inalienably theirs too. If the government applies brutal force, as it is wont to do, against our action on Monday, we will confront it with militant and dignified defiance.

By our action on Monday we will also give the DoJ and the PNP and, yes, Malacanang the chance to see the folly of their ways. #


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