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Mabuhay ka Ka Bel!

May 20th, 2008

In our political culture, who would believe that there is a Congressman who will go up the roof of his house to fix a leak or do repairs?

In our mind is fixed an image that every Congressman lives like a King in a Castle, surrounded by bodyguards, servants and other subalterns. To shine his own shoe has become an almost impossible feat by any Congressman, how much more that of fixing a roof.

But alas, there was such a Congressman. He died because he went up the roof of his house to fix a leak and do repairs.

In the jungle called the House of Representatives, there are those who truly live the life of those they represent – the marginalized sector of our Society. Among them was Rep. Crispin Beltran, or Ka Bel, as he was popularly known and called by his comrades and enemies alike. In the records of the House of Representatives, as per declared Statement of Assets and Liaibilities, Ka Bel ranks as among the poorest Congressman. But if wealth and Honor is measured upon the consistency and conviction to one’s belief and principle, Ka Bel would stand as the richest among his Honorable colleagues who would all be the have-nots.

Anakpawis Partylist Representative Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, was seriously injured after falling from the roof of his house which he was fixing. He died today, May 20, 2008, from cardiac arrest while being operated for his injuries. A death which he most likely detest. For it is known among his comrades that Ka Bel, a fighter that he was, prefered to die in action. To take a bullet from a fight in the people’s struggle for justice and democracy is what he hoped would put an end to his life. But death is a swift thing that comes like a thief in the night.

During my youth activist years, Ka Bel was one of our proletarian idols. I had the opportunity to met him personally, albeit in fleeting moments, in the early 90’s, before the Great Divide of the left happened. We have chosen opposite sides and went separate ways then. I might disagree with Ka Bel’s chosen ideology, but I respect his firm conviction to the worker’s welfare and struggle. I believe that like all militant Labor Leaders before him, Ka Bel’s resolve in the worker’s struggle was drawn not from the intellectualization of their plight, but from their own actual experience as workers themselves.

Ka Bel’s death is a great loss in the Labor Movement. It will take perhaps another decade round of worker’s struggle to produce the likes of, Ka Bert Olalia, Ka Simo Carullo, Ka Bel…

Pagpugay at Paalam Ka Bel! Mabuhay ka tunay na lider Manggagawa!

kung ikaw ay naglingkod sa aping sambayanan, ang kamatayan mo’y sing-bigat ng bukid Apo

*Photo taken from http://kalovski.blog.com/

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