On August 13, the Manila City Jail (MCJ) Female Dormitory ordered to separate political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino’s 1-month old infant from her, despite her appeal to continue caring for her child.

According to Nasino’s legal counsel, the order to remove her child was from MCJ Female Dorm warden Supt. Maria Ignacia Monteron. Nasino said she was verbally informed of this just this morning.

Marites Asis, Nasino’s mother, was the one who fetched her grandchild at the jail facility after Nasino was able to inform her lawyers of the warden’s order through a phone call.

Despite that she can be with her grandchild, Asis said that she still wants the release of her daughter.

“Nakakalungkot po na isipin na nasa amin na ang aming apo pero nakakagalit kasi hindi binigyan ng importansya yung mga motion pero hindi pa rin namin kasama yung nanay. Nakakagalit kasi sa tagal ng motion na ginawa namin hindi nila binigyan ng importansya na pagkakataon na mabigyan ng kalayaan ang anak ko. Ako po ay nakikiusap sa Supreme Court tumatawag po ako sa inyo na makasama ni Reina mae ang kanyang anak,” Asis said.

[It is saddening that while we have the child, it is enraging that our motions for the mother to also be released were not given importance. It is maddening because the response to our motion took so long and they still did not give importance to our motion for my daughter to be released. I am imploring the Supreme Court to let Reina Mae be with her child.]

 

Asis and political prisoners’ kin group Kapatid had been asking for the release of Nasino since she entered the latter half of her pregnancy. They filed a petition with the Supreme Court on April 8 that has yet to be decided by the court, despite Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta supposedly giving word to the group that the petition would be acted on June 16.

Nasino spent her entire pregnancy in jail and was only allowed one medical check-up. The lawyers said the lack of prenatal care could have been the cause of the baby’s low birth weight and yellow skin discoloration. Nasino also had difficulty breastfeeding and did not get any assistance.

Nasino’s counsels filed a motion for her to be transferred to a hospital with her baby until she reaches a year-old or to a jail nursery so she can breastfeed but this was denied by the court. The lawyers then filed a motion for reconsideration, but this too was denied.

Nasino gave birth on July 1 at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital and was returned to jail a day after.

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.

The three have been detained since then on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Human rights groups and counsels of the three insist the evidence were planted and the raid and arrests were part of a crackdown on activists.

 

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