Lawyers file manifestation recounting 'cruel, inhumane' treatment of jailed activist during baby's wake

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Lawyers file manifestation recounting 'cruel, inhumane' treatment of jailed activist during baby's wake
Jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino views the coffin of her three-month old daughter River.
JUCRA pool photo

MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples Lawyers recounted before the Manila court the “cruel and inhumane” treatment jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino received in the three-hour bereavement furlough given to her when she visited her baby's wake.

In a four-page manifestation filed Thursday, Nasino’s lawyers recounted the “callousness [and] insensitivity” of her jailers and guards when she was brought to the funeral home where Baby River’s remains lie.

The lawyers pointed out that the BJMP’s reason for asking the court to reduce its earlier granted three-day continuous furlough for Nasino is false. The BJMP said they have no personnel to spare to accompany Nasino for a three-day continuous furlough to attend Baby River’s wake and burial.

“There is no lack of available personnel who could guard the movant outside the [Manila City Jail Female Dormitory.] In fact, about 47 uniformed personnel from the MCJFP and the Philippine National Police escorted the movant from the jail to La Funeraria Rey in Pandacan, Manila,” they said.

READ: From 3 days to 6 hours: Court cuts time for jailed activist to attend baby's wake

Nasino was also in handcuff, except for a few minutes. Her lawyers asked her guards to remove them so Nasino can eat but they refused citing protocol.

They stressed that it was “doubly hard and cruel” for Nasino, who asked for furlough to see and grieve her daughter, because she could not even wipe her tears because of the handcuffs.

Police and jail officers also did not observe physical distancing and closely flanked Nasino, already in handcuffs, who could not confer with her family or lawyers.

Her guards also tried to whisk her away even if she still had over an hour in the three-hour furlough for Wednesday.

“This overkill on the part of the BJMP and PNP personnel destroyed the solemnity of the funeral, depriving the movant of her chance to properly mourn for her dead child. It also constitutes cruel and inhumane treatment to which no person deprived of liberty should be subjected,” they said.

The guards’ attempt to take away Nasino before 4 p.m. is not only a disobedience to the court’s order but “callous and insensitive to the agony of a grieving mother,” the lawyers said.

The NUPL stressed that Nasino poses no risk to safety of the community nor does she have a record of being a fugitive or attempting to flee.

“If there was any risk to the security and the health of the people present at the wake, it would come, not from the movant—diminutive in size and adequately shielded by personal protective equipment (PPE)—but the armed policemen and jail guards who failed to observe safety protocols,” the lawyers added.

READ: 'Gross injustice' as 'heartless' execs, court give jailed activist 6 hours to mourn dead child

Karapatan: Cruel treatment of Nasino ‘policy actions’ of Duterte gov't

Rights alliance Karapatan said that they believe the cruel treatment of Nasino during the furlough “are policy actions by no less than the Duterte government which has effected the highly questionable arrests and case against Reina Mae and her colleagues.”

Nasino was among the dozens of progressive group members arrested in November 2019, in a series of raids in their offices.

She is facing a case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, which they claimed are trumped up charges.

Karapatan also accused prison officials of giving alibis before the court to cut short Nasino’s time with her baby. “[I]n multiple ways, through the jail guards and the police, showed grave disrespect on her right to grieve properly during her three-hour visit to her daughter’s wake.”

“We ask: Under whose instructions were these acts undertaken? By President Rodrigo Duterte himself as chair of the [National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict], who bras about the coordinated whole-of-government response against those branded as ‘communists’ or ‘terrorists’ like Reina Mae?” Karapatan said.

The group continued continued: “Despite Malacañang’s dry expression of sympathy on Baby River’s death, its despicable policy is portrayed by its shameless, brutal and callous acts.”



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