CJ Peralta says SC tried its best to help Nasino, Baby River
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has “tried its best” to help political detainee Reina Mae Nasino and her child Baby River, Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said Friday.
“Hindi naman kami nagpabaya [we were never remiss]…We tried our best and I hope Mrs. Nasino understands also the court and the others. That’s what really happened, there was no intention to delay [but] there are limitations,” Peralta said during the online press briefing.
Nasino was one month pregnant when she was arrested in a joint operation by the police and military in a series of raids conducted in Manila and Visayas in November last year.
On April 2020, Nasino joined 21 other political prisoners mostly elderly and sickly in appealing for the high court’s compassion and allowing them temporary liberty. On July 1, Nasino gave birth to a baby girl named River.
Marites, Nasino’s mother joined human rights advocates in protesting before the high court to the immediate action on their petition because baby River’s life is at risk and she cannot be separated from her mother.
Peralta mentioned an instance when he sent Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez to talk to Nasino’s mother.
“When the cases are pending and they were waiting for the resolution, and the mother of Nasino was in front of the Supreme Court, I called the CourtAd [referring to Marquez] and told him what’s the concern of the mother,” Peralta said.
Marquez talked to Nasino’s mother and after briefing the Chief Justice, Peralta said he immediately referred the mother to the Manila Court where the case is pending.
However, the Manila Court did not only dismiss Nasino’s motion to quash, the court also refused Nasino’s plea that she remain at the hospital with her child for at least a month while she breastfeeds her. A few days after giving. birth, Nasino, and her child was transferred to the Manila City Jail.
The high court meanwhile issued a ruling passing the buck of deciding on the temporary freedom of the 22 petitioners to the courts where their cases are pending. A few days after the high court’s decision was announced, the Manila Court Branch 20 ordered that Baby River be separated from her mother.
The baby was taken away from her mother on Aug. 13. Nasino’s camp then sought the inhibition of Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali. After she inhibited, Peralta said he immediately ordered that the case be raffled to another judge.
The case landed on the sala of Judge Dinah Aguila-Topacio whom they also sought the inhibition and eventually granted because of her husband, Atty. Ferdinand Topacio is the lawyer for the parents in a habeas corpus case to get back their daughter who joined Anakbayan.
“I wrote a letter to the executive judge through Justice Midas because I know how it feels to be a parent. So I instructed the judge to immediately raffle it, e-raffle. It went to Judge Gallegos and he immediately acted on it. And he granted an original period of 3-day furlough but the girl already died,” he said.
“Kung meron lang sanang power ang Supreme Court to go against the Constitutional prohibition na hindi pwedeng mag-bail kung capital punishment, they can be released if the evidence of guilt is weak for humanitarian reason agad agad…But may limitations eh,” he said.
[If only the Supreme Court has the power to go against Constitutional prohibition that those charged with a penalty of capital punishment cannot post bail, they can be released if the evidence of guilt is weak for humanitarian reasons.]
He said, “that is what really happened. There was no intention to delay it. I understand the plight of Mrs. Nasino and I extend my condolence to her. I take this opportunity to extend my condolence to her.”