By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Grieving mother and political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino makes true her promise of seeking justice.
Nasino, through her mother Maritess Asis and with the assistance of lawyers, filed criminal and administrative complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday, Dec. 2, against policemen and jail officers who guarded her during the wake and burial of her daughter River Emmanuel.
Named respondents are: Manila Police District (MPD) chief Brig. Gen. Rolando Miranda; Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) chief Jail Director Allan Iral; MPD Station commander Lt. Col. Levi Hope Basilio; Manila City Jail Female Dormitory officer-in-charge Jail Inspector Ignacia Monteron, officer-in-charge of the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory; Manila Police Station 2 station commander Lt. Col. Magno Gallora Jr., and other jail officers and policemen.
Charges filed were gross violations of Republic Act (RA) 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act, grave coercion, violations of the rights of persons detained under RA7438, maltreatment of prisoners, grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and oppression/grave abuse of authority.
Nasino also charged the said officers of violating the RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009.
The filing of the charges stemmed from the treatment of police and jail officers during the wake and the burial of Baby River. It will be remembered that during Nasino’s visit, she was heavily guarded by the law enforcers. Police also commandeered the burial of her baby.
“At the end of the day, the buck stops with their heads and superiors who have either ordered, sanctioned, tolerated or justified these despicable acts,” the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said in a statement.
Nasino’s lawyers reiterated that in the first place, Nasino should not have been in jail.
“The subtext of our legal submissions is that hers is a case of patent abuse of authority by the state — of a negotiated procurement of defective search warrants; of a crackdown not on crime, but on legitimate dissent; of an oft recycled charge of illegal possession of firearms and explosives lodged against activists filed not on the basis of fact and evidence, but on the convenience of the unavailability of posting bail as a matter of right,” the group said.
Earlier, Nasino also filed charges against Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 presiding Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali, who repeatedly denied her pleas to allow her to stay and breastfeed her baby.
Baby River, who was born underweight, was deprived of her mother’s breast milk when the court ordered the separation of mother and child for only a month. She was later hospitalized and died of pneumonia on Oct. 9.
“How terribly we want the images of the previous month erased from our minds’ eyes for we have witnessed the absolute worst of humanity. The squall of neglect, inequity, and cruelty understandably shook many a people’s faith in the law and in our institutions to the core,” the NUPL said.