Detainee’s 3-month-old baby in critical condition, group bats for mom-daughter reunion
MANILA, Philippines — Baby River, the three-month-old child of political detainee Reina Mae Nasino, is in critical condition after being admitted to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for showing symptoms of COVID-19.
Since August 13, the baby has been in the care of her grandmother as the Manila City Regional Trial Court (RTC), in an order dated July 30, directed the baby’s separation from her mother despite pleas that separating a nearly month-old child from her parent could be detrimental to the infant’s health.
The child has been taken to the hospital several times due to diarrhea and fever. From the Manila Doctors Hospital, she was transferred to PGH. The infant is currently at PGH’s Intensive Care Unit. She was diagnosed with acute gastro-enteritis (AGE) with severe dehydration and pediatric community-acquired pneumonia (PCAPC) and a COVID-19 suspect.
“As per the latest information from the family of Reina Mae, River is not responding to antibiotics. The doctors said that Reina Mae should visit her baby now while she is still alive,” Fides Lim, Kapatid spokesperson said.
On Friday, a Very Urgent Motion for Furlough has been filed before Manila RTC Branch 37 to allow Nasino to be with her ailing daughter.
“Today, her pediatrician regretfully reported that the baby’s lungs have succumbed to bacterial infection and are quickly deteriorating. She is no longer responding to medication and may expire any moment now,” reads the urgent motion.
“The movant thus prays that she be placed on furlough so that she may be with her baby during her last days. With respect, the Honorable Court is urged to extend the kindness and compassion that the movant and her baby were denied when they were precipitately separated from each other and deprived of their basic right to breastfeed,” the motion further states.
Nasino and her baby were allowed to occupy an enclosed area of the Manila City Jail. It was the same area in the detention facility where persons deprived of liberty or PDLs who are pregnant, senior citizens with hypertension, and women suffering from epilepsy, asthma, and congestive heart diseases are allowed to stay.
The case against Nasino was initially raffled to Manila RTC Branch 20. It was this court who ruled that prison is not a place for a baby especially since the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presiding Judge inhibited from the case and it was re-raffled to Manila RTC Branch 42. However, the Manila RTC Branch 42 judge also inhibited from handling the case. Another re-raffle was made and it landed before Manila RTC Branch 37, where the very urgent motion is now pending.
Nasino was arrested in November 2019 when she was a month pregnant. Last April, she joined 22 other petitioners, consisting of high-risk inmates, in calling for the Supreme Court to allow their temporary release on bail or on recognizance citing the continuous spread of COVID-19, especially in congested detention facilities.
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