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Rights group laments return to jail of political prisoner with 2-month-old baby

/ 08:01 PM January 28, 2015
Miradel Torres and her two-month old son./Photo by Karapatan

Miradel Torres and her two-month old son./Photo by Karapatan

MANILA, Philippines—A human rights groups lamented the return to jail of a political prisoner together with her two-month-old baby in Taguig City.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said it was a depressing sight when the male inmates jeered at Miradel Torres’ son, yelling “Batang City Jail!”

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“Now, more than ever, Miradel Torres should be immediately released on humanitarian ground. We appeal to the court to grant the motion to dismiss the false charges against Torres, and in the immediate, grant her request to be brought back to the Philippine General Hospital,” Palabay said.

Torres was arrested last June 20, 2014, in Lucena City, Quezon Province, when she was four months pregnant. She had a threatened abortion and was advised by her doctor to get bed rest.

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However, she was immediately transferred from Quezon Province to Taguig City. She had a series of bleeding while in detention and was confined at Taguig Hospital months before giving birth. She gave birth at the Philippine General Hospital on November 19, 2014.

Torres was transferred after the Infanta, Quezon Regional Trial Court Branch 65 ordered her return to jail. Torres is facing a case of murder and frustrated murder.

Her lawyers asked the court to extend Torres’ confinement until April 30, 2015, to continue care for her baby “in a relatively conducive environment.” A motion to quash the information (charge sheet) against Torres is also pending before the court.

“The situation could not be more inhuman for both Torres and her baby. Torres is charged with trumped-up criminal charges and her child is made to suffer for this. It is only human to release a mother so she can raise her child in a non-coercive environment,” Palabay said.

But the Department of Justice (DOJ) prioritized the elderly and the terminally ill for a possible presidential clemency.

Over 100 names qualified for a clemency have been submitted by the DOJ to President Benigno Aquino III which was supposed to be a gift to Pope Francis when he visited the country last January 15 to 19.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, however, said the list has been subjected to another review by the Palace, which they were not able to finish when the Pope arrived.

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The last time Aquino granted clemency was in 2012, to eight elderly inmates.

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TAGS: Children's Rights, clemency, Human rights, Karapatan, political prisoner, Women's Rights
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