Peralta: SC tried its best to help detainee, baby
“We tried our best. And I hope Mrs. Nasino understands also the court and the others. That’s what really happened. There was no intention to delay it. Talagang may limitations kasi,” Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta said, referring to Nasino’s mother.
The STAR/KJ Rosales
Peralta: SC tried its best to help detainee, baby
Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta defended the Supreme Court yesterday against criticisms of the SC’s handling of the case of jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino and her baby, River, who died on Oct. 9.

“We tried our best. And I hope Mrs. Nasino understands also the court and the others. That’s what really happened. There was no intention to delay it. Talagang may limitations kasi,” Peralta said, referring to Nasino’s mother.

For the second time since his appointment last year, Peralta held a virtual press conference yesterday as he marked his first year as the 26th chief justice of the country.

Nasino was pregnant when she and 21 other detainees asked the SC in April to allow their temporary release due to their vulnerability to COVID-19. She gave birth on July 1.

Peralta said that as early as July 28, the SC ruled to refer their petition to the lower courts where their cases were filed.

He said he instructed Court Administrator Midas Marquez to follow up on the case of Nasino and even directed him to refer Nasino’s mother to a Manila City trial court where Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 initially handled the case.

Nasino’s camp sought Umali’s inhibition after the court ordered that baby River be separated from her mother.

The case eventually reached Judge Paulino Gallegos, who initially granted Nasino a three-day furlough to attend her baby’s wake and burial. The furlough was shortened after the Manila City Jail warden opposed it, citing the limited number of personnel.

“Hindi kami nagpabaya (We were not remiss). We tried to help her,” Peralta said.

He said Nasino would not have needed to file the petition if the SC had the power to go against the constitutional prohibition on posting bail for capital offenses and if detainees could be released for humanitarian reasons if the evidence is weak.

Nasino is facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives after she was arrested during a police raid on the office of a militant group in November 2019.             

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