Sanctions urged against BJMP personnel for blocking media access to Nasino
Reina Mae Nasino was in full personal protective equipment gear and was heavily guarded when she visited the wake of her baby on Oct. 14, 2020.

Sanctions urged against BJMP personnel for blocking media access to Nasino

(Philstar.com) - October 15, 2020 - 9:49am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) is urging sanctions to be levied against personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) for blocking media from clearly interviewing activist Reina Mae Nasino during her furlough to visit the wake of her three-month-old daughter.

Media workers initially had access to Nasino, but BJMP personnel later blocked cameras from clearly capturing her. They also tried to whisk Nasino away while answering questions from the media.

“The incident, in which four of Ms. Nasino's BJMP escorts surrounded her in an attempt to block her from being captured by cameras and clearly interviewed by reporters, is as abusive as it is illegal,” the NUJP said in a statement on Wednesday.

The group said that BJMP personnel “trampled on the rights” of Nasino and media workers covering her visit to her daughter’s wake, calling their actions a “gross violation of civil rights.”

It added that Nasino’s visit to the wake is a matter of public interest.

“It is part of an issue that touches on some very basic human rights, particularly that of a mother deprived of the opportunity to nurture her child and, failing that, to comfort her and bid her goodbye in her final moments,” the NUJP said.

They said further, “The BJMP personnel … were either ignorant of media's role in a democracy or did not care, not surprising given how the head of state himself has shown nothing but contempt for a free and critical press.”

Nasino was brought Wednesday to the wake of her daughter, River, at a funeral home in Pandacan, Manila dressed in full personal protective equipment and in handcuffs, surrounded by a throng of guards from the Manila Police District and the BJMP.

The BJMP, in asking to shorten the furlough of Nasino, told a Manila court that they lacked personnel to guard the activist at the wake.

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

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

She knocked on the gates of the courts twice: Before the local courts, she asked to be breastfeed and be with River for at least a year; before the Supreme Court, she and 22 other political prisoners who are at-risk of contracting COVID-19 inside our cramped jails sought temporary release on humanitarian grounds.

Both efforts failed to get favorable ruling from the courts

River died on October 9 due to pneumonia complications without reuniting with her mother. — Xave Gregorio with reports from Kristine Joy Patag

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