Lawyers add ‘cruel, inhuman’ treatment of Nasino at baby’s burial to rights abuse cases vs cops, jail execs | Inquirer News

Lawyers add ‘cruel, inhuman’ treatment of Nasino at baby’s burial to rights abuse cases vs cops, jail execs

/ 07:38 PM October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—Lawyers giving free legal service to political detainee Reina Mae Nasino filed a case for “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of the jailed activist against police and jail officials, saying the abuse of Nasino’s rights was glaring during the burial of her three-month old daughter, River Emmanuelle, last week.

In a supplemental motion filed at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47, National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), a legal group providing pro bono services to the poor, said police and officers of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) “contumaciously exacerbated their cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of Nasino last Oct. 16, the day of River’s burial, at the Manila North Cemetery.

Nasino, facing a charge of illegal possession of firearms which her lawyers said was trumped up, was separated from her baby, River, last Oct. 9. River died later of pneumonia.


The baby died without seeing her mother and despite pleas on humanitarian ground for the temporary release of Nasino to be with her daughter. She was later released on furlough but only for three hours last week for the wake and burial.


NUPL said at least 43 jail and police officers “hijacked” and “commandeered” the burial of River and denied Nasino and her family of a chance to peacefully grieve and bury River.

The lawyers said police vehicles, a SWAT truck with machine gun and a firetruck had been deployed to the funeral for River and sped up the hearse carrying the baby, prompting mourners to chase after it. The group also cited as a form of abuse the refusal of police and jail officials to remove Nasino’s handcuffs amid pleas from her lawyers and priest to allow her to embrace her daughter for the last time.

“As the accused would remain totally handcuffed during the entire burial, she was not able to wipe away her own tears with dignity, take sips of water on her own and embrace her daughter,” the NUPL motion said.

“Jail guards flanked the accused closely on all sides, and overcrowded the site displacing Nasino’s mother Marites Asis and the immediate family members of the accused,” it added.

The supplemental motion was filed by NUPL lawyers Edre Olalia, Ephraim Cortez, Julian Oliva Jr., Josalee Deinla, Katherine Panguban and Maria Sol Taule.

The lawyers’ group added that some 20 policemen from the Manila Police District who, were wearing camouflage uniforms, barred supporters of Nasino from entering the funeral home despite the wishes of the family.


NUPL belied BJMP’s claims that it lacked personnel to escort Nasino who was deemed high-risk.

“These demonstrated the BJMP and PNP’s unconscionable contempt for the accused’s grief and suffering as well as the total disregard to human feelings, oblivious to public sensibilities and unmitigated disrespect for our eternally observed culture in times of deep bereavement,” the motion said.

These injustices, according to the NUPL, should not go unpunished and forgotten, the NUPL said.

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Protests and calls for justice for River and freedom for Nasino and other political prisoners poured out on Friday as the baby was buried at the Manila North Cemetery. The hashtags #FreeReinaMaeNasino and #JusticeforBabyRiver are now trending online.

TAGS: Abuses, Activist, Baby River, BJMP, Burial, Human rights, machine gun, Nasino, Police, SWAT

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