Political detainee allowed to go to baby’s wake, funeral
MANILA, Philippines — Political detainee Reina Mae Nasino has been granted by Judge Paulino Gallegos of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 a three-day furlough starting today, Oct. 14, to attend the wake and funeral of her 3-month-old baby River.
But Chief Insp. Maria Ignacia Monteron, Manila City Jail (MCJ) female dormitory warden, opposed the decision in a letter sent to the judge, saying she did not have enough guards to secure Nasino. According to prisoner rights group Kapatid, Monteron instead proposed that Nasino be allowed to go to her baby’s wake from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
She added that the prisoner could also attend the burial at the Manila North Cemetery on Friday but subject to the rules of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
Among the conditions set by the court were for Nasino’s camp to submit River’s death certificate and an itinerary, on top of paying for the expenses of her escorts.
The 23-year-old Nasino was among the activists arrested in late 2019 during a massive crackdown on progressive groups.
Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group seized from Nasino and two other activists unlicensed firearms and ammunition, plus a hand grenade. Her lawyers, however, claimed they were planted.
Nasino gave birth to River at Fabella Hospital on July 1 but her petition for them to remain in the hospital or in a nursery to be set up at MCJ until her baby was at least 6 months old was denied.
Instead, Manila Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali ordered her to turn over her baby to the father or a relative. On Aug. 13, River was placed in the custody of Nasino’s mother, Marites Asis.
The baby, however, was hospitalized for diarrhea and a fever on Sept. 24. She died of pneumonia on Oct. 9 at Philippine General Hospital, while her mother was asking the court to let her see her daughter.
Vice President Leni Robredo offered her condolences to Nasino, saying that granting her furlough was “the least we could do for a mother who lost her daughter too soon and under these painful circumstances.”
“The plight of Reina and River should not be allowed to happen again. Their tragedy should be a teachable moment for all of us—that a jailed mother should not be denied to visit her terminally sick child,” Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement.
—With reports from Krixia Subingsubing and Leila B. Salaverria INQ
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