Reina Mae Asis Nasino, a political prisoner who spent her entire pregnancy in prison, gave birth on July 1. The 23-year-old political prisoner delivered her firstborn, a girl, at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila. She was accompanied by jail guards to the hospital. Her mother, Marites Asis, received a text for her to proceed to the hospital when Nasino had given birth already.

Asis, who earlier went to the Supreme Court to personally ask for the temporary release of her daughter, has yet to see Reina Mae because of existing health protocols.

“We lament that the Supreme Court is taking a long time to make a decision on the ‘urgent petition’ filed last April in which Reina Mae is one of the petitioners. We regret that the High Tribunal did not take action with exigency. If only they were able to decide earlier and did not let almost three months pass, Reina Mae could have given birth without fearing for her life and her child,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of KAPATID.

KAPATID asked the government to grant Nasino temporary release on bail or to allow her to stay longer at the hospital pending a court motion to give Reina Mae the necessary time to breastfeed her baby.

Allowing the baby to be breastfed by her mother will provide unsurpassed natural immunity and nutrition from breast milk that contains protective antibodies much needed especially at this time of the pandemic.

“We hope that the government will take our appeal seriously as we want to avoid what happened to Andrea Rosal, a political detainee whose newborn died because of complications. This is why we want Reina Mae to be granted release or to be allowed to stay with her child for a longer time. It is most cruel to separate a baby from her mother particularly during this health crisis,” Fides said.

KAPATID is a support group for families and friends of political prisoners.

KARAPATAN Metro Manila stressed that Nasino should not be separated from her newborn and should not be sent back to jail due to her sensitive condition and the ongoing pandemic that makes prisoners in the overcongested Philippine jails more vulnerable to COVID-19.

According to Atty. Maria Sol Taule, one of Reina Mae’s lawyers, they would file a motion for Nasino to be with her newborn child “on humanitarian grounds.”

She said this is a separate action from an earlier motion filed by human rights lawyers to quash search warrants and suppress evidence.

“First and foremost, the arrest of Reina Mae is illegal and the search warrants used to justify her arrest are marred with irregularities,” noted Taule.

“The evidence against Reina Mae and her co-accused are obviously planted. Hence, there is no reason for her to be continuously detained in the overcrowded Manila City Jail, where she is most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19,” Taule said.

Combined agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Manila Police District raided the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Tondo office on November 5, 2019 and presented a search warrant to Kadamay Manila staff Nasino, Bayan Manila Campaign Director Ram Carlo Bautista and Manila Workers Unity Educational Staff Alma Moran. They were arrested then and continued to be detained to this day.


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