Detained mother files raps vs. police for ‘unjust treatment’ in baby’s funeral

Published December 2, 2020, 4:06 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Activist Reina Mae Nasino, who lost her baby River while in jail, has filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the police and jail officials who reportedly mistreated her during the funeral wake and burial of her daughter back in October.

Activist Reina Mae Nasino
(Photo by Jansen Romero / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Facing the complaint are Police Brigadier General Rolando Fernandez Miranda, Director of the Manila Police District (MPD); Police Lieutenant Colonel Levi Hope Baliao Basilio, Station Commander of the Manila Police Station 10; Jail Director Allan Iral, Chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) from Manila City Jail; Jail Inspector Ignacia Monteron, Officer-in-Charge of the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory (MCJFD); Jail Officers Angoluan, Brillantes, Navarro, Pasiona; Police Officers Pascual, Rara, Felipe, Reyes, Razon, Santiago, Padilla, Villanueva, Murao, and Mendoza from MPD Station 10 Headquarters; Police Lieutenant Colonel Magno Labunos Gallora Jr., Manila Police Station 2 Commander; and Police Officers Jargue, Sales, Dela Cruz, Ongjoco from Manila Police Station 2.

Nasino said in her complaint that firearms and explosives were planted in the office of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Manila chapter in Tondo Manila where she was staying back in November 5, 2019. These would later be used in “trumped up charges” of illegal possession of firearms and explosives before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila.

Nasino said she was initially detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City before being moved to Manila City Jail in February 2020. After the transfer, Nasino learned she was pregnant. She said she was not provided with adequate prenatal care in jail, and she saw a doctor only once throughout the duration of her pregnancy.

Due to the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), Nasino was kept from communicating with her family and lawyers. When she finally contacted them, her family was concerned over her safety and the safety of her unborn child so they filed on June 25 an Urgent Motion for Prenatal Checkup and Hospital Admission.

On July 1, Nasino gave birth to her daughter, River Emmanuelle, at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital. Weighing only 5.5 lbs., baby River was considered a low-birth weight infant. She also had infant jaundice and was placed under ultraviolet light on July 2.

Considering the baby’s poor health, Nasino’s lawyers filed a Supplemental Urgent Motion to allow them to stay at the Fabella Hospital or at a prison nursery located within the MCJFD for 12 months. But the motion was denied in light of the limited resources of MCJFD.

“When my lawyers informed me of the trial court’s heartless decision, I broke down in tears, devastated by our impending separation. I dreaded the day that baby River would be removed from my loving embrace and deprived of the natural immunity and nutrition that only my breastmilk could offer,” she said in the complaint.

Because baby River was forcibly weaned off breastmilk, Nasino’s breasts stopped producing milk after two weeks. On September 24, baby River was rushed to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for fever and diarrhea.

The fight to be reunited with baby River lasted until October 9, when baby River drew her last breath. “No words could ever express how I felt over the thought of my poor, helpless, little baby who lay motherless in her sickbed during her final hours,” Nasino lamented.

Nasino said she was given only six hours to be reunited with her dead baby and attend her funeral wake and burial. But throughout that time, jail guards never left her side and she was in handcuffs throughout her entire visit.

Even when they pleaded with the jail guards to remove her handcuffs so she can freely hold her child for the last time, their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Nasino said that the police deprived her and her family from peacefully remembering baby River by grabbing placards demanding “Justice for Baby River!” and preventing people from joining the funeral procession.

Nasino wants the cops and jail guards to be held accountable for violation of Sections 4 and 5 of R.A. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, Article 286 of the Revised Penal Code or Grave Coercion, and Section 2(b) and 2(f) of R.A. 7438 or the Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation.

She also wants them slapped with the administrative charges of Grave Misconduct, Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, Oppression and Grave Abuse of Authority.