The camp of detained activist Reina Mae Nasino on Monday filed a supplemental manifestation before a Manila court to detail the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of the Bureau of Jail and Penology Management and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to her during her three-month-old daughter’s internment last week.
Through a document submitted to Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47, the National Union of People’s Lawyer manifested that “about 43 jail and police officers hijacked and commandeered the event and denied” Nasino and her family “their one and only last chance to peacefully and solemnly lay the child to her final resting place” at the Manila North Cemetery on Friday.
According to Nasino’s camp, around 20 Manila Police District officers, “in intimidating battle-green camouflage uniform,” arrived at the funeral parlor where Nasino’s daughter’s, Baby River, wake was being held before the latter was taken for funeral procession.
“Several police vehicles, including a black SWAT truck with a machine gun atop and a fire truck were positioned in the area,” the document read.
NUPL also manifested that police barred Nasino’s supporters and sympathizers from entering the funeral home, which was “against the family’s wishes.”
The lawyers’ group added that Nasino’s mother, Marites, even had to kneel before the police “to literally beg that they be allowed to start the funeral procession early.”
During the procession, Nasino’s camp said, the hearse carrying the corpse of Nasino’s daughter moved at fast speed “after a police officer was seen talking to the driver” and “suddenly sped off, leaving the bewildered family and mourners behind.”
NUPL also called out the police’s action when “they handled the casket brusquely and without care as it if it was mere chattel.”
The group also decried the authorities’ treatment to Nasino when they did not remove her handcuffs, so she “can say her last goodbye in dignity,” when she arrived.
“One of the undersigned counsels, Atty. Katherine Panguban, initiated the plea to unshackle the accused… The accused’s relatives and the parish priest also begged the guards while weeping, but their pleas fell on deaf ears and cold unmoving hearts,” the manifestation read.
NUPL told the court that “these events show that BJMP’s claims that they lacked the personnel who could escort the accused and she is a high-risk inmate are nothing but barefaced lies.”
The group said that BJMP and PNP demonstrated their “unconscionable contempt for the accused’s grief and suffering as well as total disregard to human feelings, oblivious to public sensibilities and unmitigated disrespect for our eternally observed culture in times of deep bereavement.”
Nasino’s camp’s manifestation was accompanied with attachments of several photos and videos as “the BJMP and the PNP may deny or try to excuse their cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the accused during her furlough.”
In a statement on Sunday night, NUPL president Edre Olalia asked the officers who escorted Nasino to tell themselves “in silence if” their families “deserve to be proud” of them for what they did.
Various human rights group, and even Vice President Leni Robredo, called out PNP and BJMP’s “overkill” treatment to Nasino, which the latter denied.
Metropolitan Manila Development Authority spokesperson Celine Pialago, meanwhile, earned the ire of many social media netizens for being too “insensitive” after saying in a Facebook post that supporters of Nasino are turning her plight into a “drama serye.”
“Pag aralan niyo mabuti ang dahilan bakit sya nakulong at kilalanin niyong mabuti kung sino sya sa lipunan (Find out the reason why she was jailed and who is she in the society),” Pialago said.
Nasino was arrested in November 2019 for alleged possession of firearms and explosives after police raided the headquarters of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in Tondo.
She was charged following her arrest and up to this day, her trial is still ongoing, which means she is still presumed innocent until proven by the court guilty.