'Short-handed' Manila jail brings detained activist to baby's wake under heavy guard

'Short-handed' Manila jail brings detained activist to baby's wake under heavy guard
Reina Mae Nasino was in full PPE gear and was heavily guarded when she visited the wake of her baby on Wednesday.
KAPATID / release

MANILA, Philippines — Detained activist and young mom Reina Mae Nasino finally saw her three-month old daughter River on Wednesday, but it was a different scenario from what she hoped for.

Nasino was brought to the wake of River in a funeral home in Pandacan, Manila in handcuffs and surrounded by a throng of guards — from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Manila Police District.

“Masakit sa akin. Sabik ako makita ang anak ko pero hindi sa ganyang kalagayan (This pains me. I am excited to see my daughter but not in this condition),” Nasino said.

The detained young mom was supposed to spend three full days with River, until her burial on Friday at the Manila North Cemetery, but the Manila court cut this short.

Instead, Nasino was given three hours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and another three hours on Friday, for River’s burial.

'Lack of personnel'

In asking the court to shorten the furlough for Nasino, Jail Chief Inspector Maria Ignacia Monteron of the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory said they only have 12 personnel as “outside forces” and are thus depleted of manpower.

Monteron, in a GMA News report, said that only five of the Nasino’s guards are from the city jail while police forces have joined for augmentation.

But Nasino’s supporters and lawyers said more than 20 people stood guard around the grieving mother. Photos taken at the funeral home also show uniformed personnel spilling even in the hallways.

Fides Lim of advocacy group Kapatid also confronted the jail guards to have them remove Nasino's handcuffs. “Shame on you. She cannot even rise from her chair with all these soldiers clinging to her,” she said.

Jail guards eventually removed Nasino’s handcuff and she was able to hold up a photo of River.

A commotion however again ensued as guards tried to take Nasino away before the clock struck 4 p.m., as shown in media reports. Nasino’s lawyers and families argued that the grieving mom still had time left in the court granted furlough.

Nasino gave birth to Baby River on July 1, but they were ordered separated by a Manila court after the child turned one month old.

River died on October 9 without reuniting with her mother. — Kristine Joy Patag



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