After initially denying the petition for temporary release of Morong 43 mother Carina Judilyn Oliveros, the court, in deciding on the appeal filed by Oliveros’s counsel, ordered her and her son’s transfer to a hospital where she would be detained for a period of three months.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — After denying the petition filed by Morong 43 mother Carina Judilyn Oliveros for temporary release on recognizance for humanitarian grounds, the local court ordered that she and her newborn son be transferred to a hospital.
Oliveros is one of the 43 health workers arrested on Feb. 6 in Morong, Rizal. The 43 were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal before being transferred to a detention facility at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan.
Oliveros gave birth by cesarean section to her first child last July 22 at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). On Aug. 18, the jail guards hauled Oliveros, together with her son, back to jail,. Presiding Judge Gina F. Cenit-Escoto of the Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 78 ordered the transfer, saying that there is no basis to grant the petition for temporary release filed on Oliveros’s behalf by her counsels.
The mother and child joined the rest of the Morong 43 women detainees in an overcrowded, damp and poorly ventilated detention cell where rats, bed mites and other insects are found.
Oliveros’s lawyers filed an appeal, and in a decision issued August 25, the Morong court ruled that mother and baby be allowed to stay at the PGH for three months so that the mother could breastfeed her child.
Even as the petition for her temporary release was not granted, Oliveros, her legal counsels and supporters nevertheless welcomed the court’s decision.
“…the grant of the instant motion would result to avoidance of any harm and danger that the child may suffer while in Camp Bagong Diwa, including the unjust incarceration of the said child in a detention facility,” the order stated.
As of press time, Oliveros and her baby are still at Camp Bagong Diwa. The jail warden has received the official copy of the order this morning, according to the Health Alliance for Democracy (Head).
“This welcome development is clearly the result of the unwavering perseverance of the detainees, their families and supporters to further the call to free the Morong 43,” Carlos Montemayor, spokesperson of the Free the 43 Health Workers! Alliance said in a statement.
However, Montemayor criticized jail officials for delaying the transfer of Oliveros and her baby to the PGH. “Despite the August 25 court order and the jail warden’s personal knowledge of the decision, jail officials are delaying the transfer of Judilyn and her son citing reasons that are plainly unacceptable,” he said.
“Every hour that the mother and baby spend inside jail is a risk to the latter’s health and welfare. The baby’s stay with his mother inside detention is also tantamount to his unjust incarceration,” Montemayor added.
In a phone interview with Bulatlat, laywer Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), one of the legal counsels of the Morong 43 said, “It’s better than the jail,” Pastores said.
Pastores admitted it was a compromise. “The public prosecutors objected to the original petition [for temporary release of Oliveros] and the military was actively following up the case,” she said when asked why the court denied the initial petition. She said, however, that there are cases when the court grants petitions for release on recognizance even with non-bailable offenses.
All expenses to be incurred at the hospital should be shouldered by Oliveros, the court said. Oliveros would also be provided with three escorts during the entire duration of her stay at the PGH.
After three months from the receipt of the order, Oliveros will be sent back to Camp Bagong Diwa detention cell.
The state prosecutors are also authorized to visit Oliveros during reasonable hours on business days. The court also ordered jail warden Mary Jane Clemente to submit written reports regarding the status of Oliveros’s detention. (Bulatlat.com)