“They must answer for the treacherous and duplicitous manner in which they ferreted her [Rosal] out of the hospital while still recuperating from difficult labor and traumatic experience.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA –Andrea Rosal, through her lawyers, filed charges of contempt against jail authorities before the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 22, June 20.
On June 4, still recuperating after giving birth, Rosal was forcibly transferred from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to her detention cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
Rosal, 31, was pregnant when arrested on March 27. She was charged with kidnapping with murder, which she consistently denied. She gave birth on May 17 but her baby daughter died the following day due to lack of oxygen in the blood.
Charged with contempt are Jail Senior Inspector Ellen B. Barrios, warden of Taguig City jail-female dormitory, Jail Senior Inspector Atty. Crisyrel P. Awe of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Jail Senior Inspector Dr. Jaime A. Claveria Jr., resident/roving physician, BJMP-NCR.
In her affidavit, Rosal said she was deprived of her right to counsel and her right to inform her family regarding the transfer.
Rosal’s lawyers Maria Kristina C. Conti and Sandra Gill Santos, both from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), asserted that jail authorities violated the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, particularly Sections 22 and 44.
Section 22 states, “Sick persons who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals.”
“They must answer for the treacherous and duplicitous manner in which they ferreted her [Rosal] out of the hospital while still recuperating from difficult labor and traumatic experience,” Conti said in a statement.
According to medical certificate issued by Rosal’s attending doctor Orlino Talens on May 20, his patient stayed at the hospital due to gaping incision wound and work up for urinary tract infection. On May 30, Talens examined Rosal and suggested his patient see a kidney specialist and recommended the deferment of Rosal’s discharge from the hospital.
The court order dated May 20 allowing Rosal to visit the wake of her baby states that Rosal “shall be returned to PGH or to her detention cell upon clearance from the said hospital.”
Neither Talens nor Rosal’s other doctor Geneve Rivera-Reyes issued such clearance when Rosal was forcibly transferred from PGH to Camp Bagong Diwa on June 4.
On May 29, BJMP doctor Claveria, without examining Rosal or seeing her medical charts, sent a memorandum to BJMP regional director Jail Senior Superintendent Romeo Salazar stating that in his opinion, “the presence of UTI is not a reason to extend her [Rosal’s] hospital stay and added that Rosal’s wound can be “managed properly inside the jail facility.”
Jail warden Barrios used Claveria’s memorandum as basis for the manifestation he filed in court seeking the immediate discharge of Rosal from the hospital and return to Taguig jail. Rosal and her lawyers were not given a copy of the manifestation. On June 4, the court granted the request of Barrios.
Rosal’s lawyers lamented that the court granted the prayer in the manifestation without giving them time to file a comment, saying that the “issue at hand gravely concerns Rosal’s right to life and health and proper medical attention.”
“The callous manner in which they treated Andrea – she was shoved into a wheelchair, not allowed to contact her family or lawyers – speaks eloquently of how our society treats those who have less in life,” Conti said. “Where the government bends over backwards for the rich and influential, it hammers down on the others. If this double standard is a thought enraging enough for mothers, women, and decent human beings everywhere else, it is a reality that Andrea has to grapple with everyday in her cramped, subpar cell in Taguig which she shares with 30 others.”
In her affidavit written in Filipino, Rosal recalled how BJMP lawyer Awe treated her: “After 30 minutes, Atty. Awe and the others went inside the room and told me to change my clothes because I would be returned to jail…after two minutes, Awe returned and said we should be leaving. I attempted to go the toilet to change my clothes but Awe held my hand and told me I better change my clothes inside the ambulance. When I was able to free my hand from his grip, they handcuffed me. Then they were asking me to get on the wheelchair… I did not want to and Awe pulled me and shoved me to the wheelchair. My birth stitches were forced open as I was shoved to the wheelchair. I could not do anything more, I just cried…”
Rosal’s lawyers argued that all the acts of Claver, Barrios and Awe constitute violation of the constitutionally guaranteed and internationally recognized rights of Rosal as an accused, a detention prisoner, a woman and an individual, an unlawful interference with court proceedings and court processes, disobedience of court orders, disrespect to the court by misleading and providing false information, and improper conduct tending to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice due an accused and detention prisoner.
“These kind of wardens, doctors and lawyers who make hell worse should have no business running it – should they be the ones inside, can they stand the heat?” Conti said.
Rosal’s lawyers and supporters also went to the offices of the Professional Regulatory Commission and Philippine Medical Association and file complaints against BJMP doctor Claveria for his unethical treatment to Andrea.
Andrea and her attending doctor asked the PRC and the PMA to impose proper disciplinary penalty on Claveria.
Pastor Gil Sediarin of the Free Andrea Movement said, “His professionalism and loyalty to his duty are now in question. Doctors ought to save the lives of their patients. What Claveria did was totally condemnable given the repercussions that may happen to Andrea with her abrupt transfer. Doctors should be life savers, not hell draggers.”
In a statement, Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairwoman of human rights group Karapatan, criticized the Aquino administration’s treatment of political prisoners.
“While the BS Aquino government insists on due process to investigate the financial records of Napoles and other plunderers, it has no qualms to arrest and detain its perceived critics on trumped up charges, minus the so-called due process. Such is the case of Andrea Rosal and other political prisoners,” Enriquez said.
Napoles refers to Janet Lim-Napoles who is linked to the multi-million pork barrel scam.
Members of Free Andrea Rosal Movement held a protest action in front of the Pasig RTC and then at Camp Bagong Diwa to demand for the immediate release of Rosal.
“We vow to drumbeat Andrea’s case through mass protests and campaign for her unconditional release. As the Aquino administration remains deaf to our complaint, we will seek the international court to pressure the government to act on Andrea’s case,” Sediarin said.