Gabriela partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas appealed to the Duterte government to free all political prisoners as she sought justice for political detainee Reina Mae “Ina” Nacino of Bayan-Manila and her three-month-old daughter who died last week.
“Baby River was born underweight. But in her tiny coffin, she weighs the heaviest. She will be a name we will never forget – a name that will always remind us to fight back for justice, for just and lasting peace,” she said in a privilege speech on the sidelines of the second leg of the House of Representatives’ special session for the deliberations on the P4.506-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“I fervently hope that Baby River will be a name that this chamber will internalize. Tapos na ang magulong away sa Speakership (The chaotic Speakership fight is finished). May we now do what we can to heed the call for the immediate release of Reina Mae Nasino, Baby River’s mother, and all other political prisoners. Justice for Baby River! Free Reina Mae Nasino!” Brosas said as the Manila Regional Trial Court shortened the furlough it granted to Nasino from three days to six hours to visit the wake and attend the burial of her child.
She described Baby River as “the youngest and latest casualty of the injustice and brutal activist crackdown of our time” who died on Oct. 9 of respiratory failure without her mother at her side.
“As someone said, her death is on all of us – but most especially on the Duterte administration and the court, for showing not even an ounce of compassion for Baby River and her mother. Mr. Speaker, isang inosenteng sanggol ang hinayaang mamatay ng sistemang ito. Isang sanggol na ang tanging kasalanan ay maging anak ng isang aktibistang pinararatangang terorista ng gobyerno (Mr. Speaker, one innocent baby was left to die by this system. One baby whose only sin is to be a daughter of one activist who was accused as terrorist by the government.),” she said.
“No words can describe this kind of cruelty to an innocent baby,” she added.