Anakpawis gathers market vendors’ signatures to free Ka Bel

A press statement released by the Anakpawis partylist group noted a comment by a stall owner referring to Anakpawis partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano as “Mr. Palengke,” the campaign moniker used by then Trade Secretary, now Senator, Mar Roxas in television advertisements for the Department of Trade and Industry in 2000. A few months after the release of the ad, Roxas campaigned for senator and was number one in the 2001 Congressional elections.

Murag naa na gyud bag-o nga Mr. Palengke” (There might be a new Mr. Palengke),’ commented one stall owner as market-goers and onlookers gathered around Mariano, the statement noted.

Anakpawis and KMU members, however, went around Bankerohan explaining that the signature drive was meant to solicit public support for the release of 73-year old Beltran who was arrested on February 25 allegedly for plotting with other members of the political opposition and military officers to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Beltran was taken into custody of the Philippine National Police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group following President Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017, a presidential order struck down by the Supreme Court.

Four other party-list representatives allied with Beltran, in particular Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Joel Virador of Bayan Muna and Lisa Masa of Gabriela Party were arrested following the proclamation. They have been released.

Beltran, however, was not released as the police insisted that his detention was based on a 1982 rebellion case against him.

Beltran insisted that there are no evidences linking him to the rebellion while Anakpawis viewed his continuing detention as a indication that President Arroyo is reverting to the ways of then dictator President Ferdinand Marcos in stifling the opposition. (Jowel F. Canuday/MindaNews)