“The decision to take away a newborn child from her mother is a callous, inhumane act against a person who fears for her life and of her child despite the concerning fact that Reina Mae doesn’t deserve even a single day in jail.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 once again denied the plea of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino to be with her daughter for a longer period of time.
The order, which was signed by Presiding Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali, was released on July 30. Earlier, the court already denied the plea of Nasino to let her stay with her newborn in jail.
Nasino filed a motion for reconsideration asking again the court to allow her and her baby to stay at the hospital or at the prison nursery of the Female Dormitory of the Manila City Jail until her baby is one year old.
In a statement, Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid, the support group for families and friends of political prisoners, said “the decision to take away a newborn child from her mother is a callous, inhumane act against a person who fears for her life and of her child despite the concerning fact that Reina Mae doesn’t deserve even a single day in jail.”
Umali based her decision on the letter-comment of the officer-in-charge of the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory which states that the dormitory is over 300-percent congested and not a healthy place for a baby to stay.
The OIC also said that Nasino is already feeding her baby formula milk. Lim said however that this should not be used as justification to sever the bonds between a mother and infant.
Lim said the presence of a mother to provide full care for her newborn is important. “Even the animal kingdom is flush with cases of how moms stay with their young and teach them how and what to eat to stay alive,” Lim said.
The court’s decision is heartbreaking, said Lim, especially that Nasino is a first-time mother.
“Forcible separation from her child is the worst thing that can happen to a mother who is also a victim of planted firearms as a political prisoner. She should not be made to pay this price. The right to take care of your child is a most fundamental one, but a court can strip it from a political prisoner so callously,” said Lim.
Because of the lower court’s denial of Nasino’s motion, Lim said this steps up the pressure on the Supreme Court to act with exigency on the petition they filed on April 8.
The petition is urging the SC to release 22 political prisoners, including Nasino, as well as ordinary prisoners who are most at risk from the pandemic.
Nasino was arrested together with two other activists on Nov. 5 last year when the police raided their office Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Manila in Tondo, Manila.