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Archive for May 2008

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Ka Bel, a revolutionary

This, a shock:

MANILA, Philippines — Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran died Tuesday from brain injuries after falling from the rooftop of his home in Bulacan, according to reports culled

Dr. Arnold Corpus, emergency room doctor and attending physician to Beltran, said the former Kilusang Mayo Uno chairman died at exactly 11:48 a.m.

The doctor said he suffered a cut at the right side of the head and broken ribs.

Corpus said the head injuries proved fatal to the militant congressman. He was brought into the hospital at 9:42 a.m. Doctors tried to revive him for two hours and was resuscitated five times before the family decided to discontinue life support.

Beltran’s daughter, Ofelia Beltran-Balleta, announced his death to reporters.

Beltran lapsed into a coma at the hospital, after he developed a blood clot in the brain caused by the fall at around 6 a.m.

In a phone interview with, Balleta said Beltran went up to his roof from the mezzanine to fix a leak. While going down, the congressman suddenly lost balance and fell. She added that it was a 14-foot drop and Beltran fell face first.

Balleta said that when Beltran was brought to the hospital, he was still conscious and then suddenly went into cardiac arrest.

She also clarified that a heart attack did not cause Beltran’s fall. “The heart attack is just secondary but he died from hemorrhage that led to him being brain dead,” Balleta said.

Doctors told the family that Beltran was brain dead as of Tuesday morning, said Lualhati Roque, Beltran’s chief of staff.

Bayan Muna partylist Representative Satur Ocampo, who rushed to the hospital after learning of the accident, informed reporters before Beltran died that “only his heart and lungs were being revived. He’s experiencing repeated heart seizures.”

Roque added that his family was informed that they had to make a decision whether to continue life support for the congressman. His doctor had explained to the family that his heart was only being kept alive by a drug being injected into his body.

His family said Beltran was really fond of fixing things in his house, an activity, which became a morning habit for him.

“He was physically active,” Balleta said.

“The whole family is grieving,” Mau Hermitanio, another staff of Beltran, told

Beltran, 75, left a wife and 11 children.

Balleta also revealed that the family did not have a chance to talk to Beltran before he died.

“Walang chance kami nagkausap [We did not have the chance to talk],” she said.

Prior to Beltran’s accident and eventual death, Balleta said the family was busy preparing for the congressman’s privilege speech at Congress on Tuesday on power rates and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Balleta said Beltran’s body would be initially transferred to the Funeraria Paz in Quezon City. After which, the family would bring Beltran to his hometown in Muson, Bulacan then to the University of the Philippines Chapel in Quezon City.

“We are thankful to those who extended their support and condolences. He died for the plight of the workers,” Balleta said.


I’ve had the privilege of working with Ka Bel at the House of Representatives as part of a team of lawyers who put together three impeachment complaints against Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Years before that , as a journalist reporting on civil society issues, I had written articles about him and his labor rights advocacy. Ka Bel was what the Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci would call an “organic intellectual,” or someone learned in the objective and material conditions of reality not through the halls of the academe but through his being himself, an active participant in the struggle to transform these very same conditions. Though I do not count myself as among those who fully subscribe to the political ideology for which he was a life-long provocateur, his commitment and dedication to his brand of political struggle was both humbling and awe-inspiring.

Written by Romel

May 20, 2008 at 10:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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