Humane Treatment Urged for ‘Morong 43’ Mom, Newborn


MANILA — “My baby could not sleep until I put him beside me,” Carina Oliveros said. She could not get her eyes off her newborn son lying next to her. “He looks like his father,” she said, smiling. “He kicks so strongly the basin almost fell when we were bathing him the other morning.”

Carina, 27, is one of the 43 health workers who were arrested on Feb. 6 in Morong, Rizal. She gave birth to her baby boy on July 22, ast around 11 a.m., through Caesarean section.

Instead of a police detention facility, the Morong 43 were brought to Camp Capinpin, home of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. For almost three months, they were held in military captivity until 38 of them were transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. At the time of the arrest, Carina was two months pregnant. “He must have endured all the stress in prison,” she told Bulatlat in an interview.

In an earlier interview with Bulatlat, Carina recounted how she suffered from psychological torture in the hands of her interrogators. Carina and another pregnant woman, Mercy Castro, were not spared from ill treatment.

Last week, on July 28, Mary Jane Clemente, jail warden of the detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa, visited Carina. “She [Clemente] asked me where would I leave my son,” Carina said. “It is time for me to go back to jail.”

Judge Gina Cenat Escoto of the Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 78 had approved Oliveros’s deliveryat the PGH due to the availability of better and adequate medical facilities. Carinawas given three days to a week’s time before going back to Camp Bagong Diwa.

Clemente told Carina that she could leave her son to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), to her parents or to any relative. “I cried and told her to allow me to be with my son. I want to be with my son,” Carina said.

She said that after the visit of the jail warden, her bleeding became strong and she had a loose bowel movement (LBM). “It was probably because of stress,” she said.

The mother said she wrote to the court, asking for permission to allow her to be with her son for a little while. “I also said that we, the Morong 43, should be immediately released because the accusations against us are baseless,” Carina said further.

Carina Oliveros with her baby at the Philippine General Hospital. Authorities will send her back to jail anytime soon. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea /

The Morong 43 were slapped with charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were arrested based on a search warrant against a certain Mario Condes who has never been found.

The Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed their petition for writ of habeas corpus using the martial-law era Ilagan vs Enrile doctrine. The lawyers of the Morong 43 have filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. To date, the high court has yet to issue a decision on the petition.

The health workers also filed charges of human-rights violations against the military and the police at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and recently, before the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF) for the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Relatives of the Morong 43 have also sought the help of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

Lawyer Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), one of the legal counsels of the Morong 43, told Bulatlat that they filed a special appearance with motion to release [Oliveros] on recognizance for humanitarian reasons on July 29. The hearing on the said motion is scheduled on Aug. 6.

“We did not the state duration [of the release]. It’s up to the court [to decide] but doctor’s recommendation is six months,” Pastores said.

Dr. Julie Caguiat, spokesperson of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, said there are particular medical needs which should be given to Oliveros and that Camp Bagong Diwa does not have facilities to deal with post natal care.

Carina repeatedly said that all she wants is to be with her baby. “It is our right,” she said.

She said that her mother would find it difficult to nurse her baby. Her mother Sheila, now 53, has hypertension and has four other granddaughters and grandsons to look after. She also tends their farm in Palawig, Zambales.
“I worry about my mother being exhausted. She already has a lot of things to care about. Of course, she could not breastfeed my baby… If ever my son gets sick, the hospital is far from our place,” Carina said.

For the Sake of the Baby

Caguiat said Oliveros still needs to stay out of prison to fully recover from her caesarian delivery and breastfeed her baby, which is necessary as part of the child’s development.

The recommended full recovery of a mother coming from a caesarian delivery is 65 days, while exclusive breastfeeding for a child is necessary for the first six months and mixed breastfeeding up to two years.

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2 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. What kind of democracy do you have in the Philippines? A democracy that coddles the interests of the few elite people? I even saw on tv that Filipinos are religious people. Is it a democracy for the high ranking police, high ranking military, rich capitalist businessmen, landlords, and politicians who stay in power because of massive vote buying? Here in Canada, the police have the highest integrity because of truth and justice. Politicians here resign if they cannot do anything good. if a politician here is being investigated for something, that politician will voluntarily step down. Why is it in the Philippines that democracy is still in effect and yet, there is no actual democracy. You have to think now Filipinos, democracy is being used as a ploy for corruption and abuse. Why is it that your economy is very bad? Why is it that good people die? Why is it that the poor are being manipulated and dictated? is it not that politicians are there to lead and make life easier? Think about it. Why are you allowing this to happen to you? if that was here in Canada, god will help us but people will revolt and fight for a real democracy. Thnak you, Rob

  2. Only the judiciary can release and justify the MORONG 43, and not P-noy. P-noy is the executive but he has no right to intervene the action of the judiciary….P-noy has the right to tell the court to speed up its action on the matter BUT HE NEVER HAS TO RIGHT TO SAY TO THEM RELEASE THE Prisoners….

    Some militants claim the law is in their side but alas, they don't even know how really it works….

    About the prisoner who gave birth, I would suggest a humane treatment of house arrest until their issue has been resolved….For the benefit and welfare of the child and the mothers and also for humanitarian reasons…

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