Posted by: nupl | May 29, 2008

NUPL TRIBUTE TO HON.CRISPIN “Ka Bel ” Beltran

Peoples’ lawyers all over the country salute Ka Crispin Beltran, a genuine peoples’ champion, for his major contribution in advancing the peoples interest. He may not have passed the bar exams but he was the best “labor lawyer” in the country having successfully won many legal victories for the rights of the working class through militant struggle. The life of Ka Bel is one devoted to work and struggle and despite his advanced age he managed to do both with vigor and commitment.

Many said Ka Bel would have wanted to die in the midst of struggle but we are sure he had no regrets because he actually died in the midst of the campaign against the continuing attacks on the peoples’ economic welfare exemplified by the rising prices of rice and gasoline and the unjust refusal of the government and the employers to give decent wages to the workers. One of his last acts was signing the bill granting the poor an exemption from the Expanded Value Added Tax.. He was in the thick of the battle against attacks on Philippine sovereignty, a battle he has continuously waged throughout his life. One of his last acts was signing the Supreme Court Petition to declare the Joint Maritime Survey Undertaking between the Philippines, China and Vietnam unconstitutional. But more than these, Ka Bel was in the midst of struggle because up to his death he played an active part and an important role in the peoples movement for a free, just and democratic society.

Many said Ka Bel would have wanted to die fighting, but we are sure he had no regrets because he did in fact die while hard at manual labor, in the midst of the daily struggle of the common man to live amidst poverty. His simple living in death not only shocked the country, used to rich politicians who will never engage in manual labor, but also made the people realize that indeed it is possible for committed political leaders like Ka Bel to shun material wealth and genuinely devote their lives to the service of the people. Those who previously attempted to bribe Ka Bel in exchange for his vote in Congress not only committed a crime but also committed an insult against him and the principles with which he stood for. His firm rejection of the bribe offer relays a strong message of hope for us all while we battle the corruption that pervades the Arroyo government.

With the passing of Ka Bel, the working-class and the people lost a sincere and dedicated defender who will not back down to those who threaten the peoples’ rights. We mourn his loss, but we celebrate his life so that it will serve as our model and as our inspiration to give our utmost to live up to the call to ‘serve the people’.

We are sure that Ka Bel is happy that he lived his life to the full in the service of the people and he died in the midst of struggle and steadfast in the service of the people. We, in the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, are glad that we once worked with a great man. Mabuhay and diwa ni Ka Bel, ang diwa ng paggawa at pakikibaka para sa masang anakpawis!

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