Jailers wash hands of Rosal baby’s death
MANILA, Philippines—The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) on Wednesday washed its hands of any complicity in the death of the newborn baby of political prisoner Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late communist leader Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.
“The BJMP is saddened (by) the unfortunate news (of) baby Diona’s death despite the medical intervention given to Andrea Rosal since Day 1 of her confinement,” BJMP spokesman Roy Valenzuela said in a statement.
“Our hearts (go) out for Andrea and to the bereaved family for (their) loss,” he added.
Valenzuela claimed Rosal received proper medical attention since she was brought to her detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa on April 13.
He said Rosal was visited at least four times by a doctor and underwent medical and prenatal examination before she gave birth on May 16.
The jail official said Rosal was supposed to undergo prenatal checkup at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) on May 20, but was taken to the government hospital four days earlier after she experienced contractions.
Valenzuela said the BJMP even assigned three jail nurses to closely monitor Rosal’s condition.
He said the warden of the Taguig City Jail Female Dormitory asked the court to let Rosal undergo prenatal checkup at Taguig-Pateros District Hospital as recommended by the BJMP doctor.
“Unfortunately, the court ruled that the (obstetrician-gynecologist) doctor of the hospital should be the one to visit the accused in detention,” he said, adding: “Accordingly, efforts were exerted by the jail authorities to tap the services of a doctor from the hospital but to no avail.”
He also maintained that Rosal’s attending doctor ordered her discharge from the PGH on May 16 because she was not yet due for delivery and there were no rooms available at the PGH.
As this developed, an official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Wednesday appealed to the government to allow Rosal to attend the burial of her baby in Batangas on Thursday.
Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said it was enough that Rosal was deprived of her basic human and maternal right to access medical care during her pregnancy.—With a report by Jocelyn R. Uy
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