Detained activist was finally able to visit her three-month-old daughter’s wake in Pandacan, Manila on Wednesday after the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted her a six-hour furlough.
Reina Mae Nasino, donning a full set of personal protective equipment (PPE) and handcuffs, turned emotional upon seeing her daughter River already in a casket at La Funeraria Rey.
She only has until 4 p.m. to stay at the wake. She will be allowed to visit her child again on her burial on Friday.
“Masakit sa akin. Sabik akong makita ang anak ko, pero hindi sa ganyang kalagayan (It is painful for me. I was excited to see my daughter, but not in that state),” she said.
Nasino, who is facing perjury charges after allegedly being caught with firearms and explosives in November 2019, was accompanied by up to 20 escorts onboard five vehicles, according to Kapatid, a support group for families and friends of political prisoners.
Cops were also spotted by Kapatid outside the funeral home even before the political prisoner arrived.
The Manila City Jail requested the court earlier to shorten Nasino’s furlough from full three days to only 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, citing depleted personnel.
In her letter on Tuesday, Manila City Jail Chief Inspector Maria Ignacia Monteron said the unit only has 12 personnel handling 665 detainees.
The activist mother was also eventually allowed to remove one of her handcuffs after Kapatid spokesman Fides Lim confronted the escorts.
“Remove the handcuffs. Shame on you. She cannot even rise from her chair with soldiers clinging to her,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Manila RTC Branch 47 Judge Paulino Gallegos cut Nasino’s three-day furlough into six hours, citing guidelines from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
“During the hearing, Jail Inspector Vidano invoked the BJMP Manual which provides that an inmate shall not be allowed to stay more than three (3) hours in the place where the remains of the deceased relative lie,” the court order read.
The new ruling came a day after Monteron penned a letter to the court opposing the three-day furlough.
Human rights groups such as Kapatid, Karapatan, and the National Union of People’s Lawyers called for justice for what happened to the mother and child.
Nasino’s very urgent motion for furlough was filed on October 9, a few hours before River’s death.
Nasino was returned to the Manila City Jail 48 hours after giving birth to an underweight River at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Medical Hospital on July 1.
Before this, she filed a motion before the Manila RTC to allow her to breastfeed her child in the hospital or in a prison nursery for at least a year. But the court denied her motion, saying that the Manila City Jail has “very limited” resources for the care of her child.
Nasino was also among 22 elderly and medically-vulnerable prisons deprived of liberty who appealed for their compassionate release before the Supreme Court amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
After around five months, the High Court ruled that trial courts will be the ones to decide on their release.
On August 13, Monteron ordered Nasino to turn River over to her relatives.
The baby was admitted to the Philippine General Hospital on September 24 for fever and diarrhea. She was brought to the hospital’s intensive care unit on October 9 where she died a few hours later due to acute respiratory distress syndrome.