Andrea Rosal went to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where her baby was. For the first time, she held her baby in her arms and cried.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Andrea Rosal’s baby died today May 18, 4:20 p.m. at the Philippine General Hospital.
Two-day old Diona Andrea died due to persistent pulmonary hypertension. Her death certificate states that she also suffered from neonatal pneumonia and hypoxicischemic encephalopathy, or oxygen deficiency in the blood.
Rosal, along with two others, was arrested March 27 in Caloocan City. She was on her seventh month of pregnancy and was heading to her pre-natal check-up when arrested. She was charged with kidnapping and murder, which she denied in television interviews. Rosal is the daughter of the late Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, spokesman of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Felicidad Rosal-Inandan, aunt of Rosal, said “this would not have happened if only her niece was not detained for crimes she did not do.”
Inandan broke the news to her niece. “Take a deep breath first and drink water…. Your baby’s heartbeat stopped,” Inandan told Rosal.
Rosal then went to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) where her baby was. For the first time, she held her baby in her arms and cried.
After resting for a few minutes, Andrea went back to NICU and requested to have a photograph taken with her daughter. For the last time, she held Diona Andrea tight and shed tears.
Since her birth, Diona Andrea was confined at the NICU and provided a respirator and oxymeter, a device to monitor her oxygen levels.
Human rights group Karapatan condemned the jail authority’s “blatant disregard of Andrea’s rights, citing how it ignored her right to receive immediate medical care and be in an environment conducive for delivering a healthy child.”
Following her arrest, Rosal was detained at the Camp Bagong Diwa and did not receive any medical attention from jail authorities before her transfer to the hospital. Karapatan said authorities from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) delayed Rosal’s transfer to the PGH, which was granted by the court, May 15. Rosal began experiencing uterine contractions since the evening of May 15, but she was brought back and forth from the detention center to PGH because the BJMP claimed there was no room available for Rosal. Rosal was finally admitted to the hospital in the evening of May 16; she gave birth at 7:10 a.m. the following day.
“We find the BJMP authorities, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and all government agencies responsible for the illegal arrest and detention of Andrea Rosal accountable for the death of Diona Andrea and the situation of her mother now,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said. “This government has no heart for a mother and child like Andrea and Diona Andrea.”
Renato Reyes, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said in a post at his Facebook account that “Andrea Rosal cannot even grieve in private as her BJMP guards are also inside her room.”
“So how is it that people like Napoles or GMA get special treatment while poor people like Andrea Rosal has to go through the eye of a needle just to get proper medical care while in detention? Why is it that she can’t even grieve in private for the death of her newborn because her jail guards are with her inside the hospital room?” Reyes asked. Napoles refers to Janet Lim-Napoles, main suspect in the multi-million pork barrel scam while GMA is the initials of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is detained for charges of corruption.
Women’s group Gabriela, in a text message, said Rosal “has been living in poor conditions unsuitable for an expectant mother.”
According to Karapatan, Rosal was detained in a 5×10 meter cell with 31 other inmates.
“The AFP and the Aquino government virtually murdered baby Diona Andrea when they refused to grant earlier requests for hospital detention for Andrea,” Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela, said.
“While Napoles, who stole millions from the Filipino people, receives preferential treatment and continues to stay in the hospital weeks after her operation, Andrea Rosal was denied access to medical services until she was about to give birth,” Salvador said.
One of Rosal’s lawyers, Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) lamented, “In the Philippines and under this kind of government, only the dirt poor, powerless and disfavored by authorities die unnecessarily and painfully.”
”Indeed what kind of society do we have when a heartless and uncaring government deprive, deny, or delay its mothers-to-be and their newborn the very basic, obviously urgent, simply necessary medical attention and assistance?” Olalia said.