“This heartbreaking predicament of having babies separated from their detained mothers, and of being denied of their basic human right to their mother’s breastmilk, that is justified by rules issued by jail authorities, is what Reina Mae brings before the Supreme Court for its review and resolution.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino is asking the high court to look into the predicament of nursing mothers and their babies in prison as she filed an appeal to a court decision, Dec. 11.
Nasino filed on Oct. 8 a petition for certiorari questioning the orders of Judge Balisi-Umali’s to separate her daughter River Emmanuelle from her. The Court of Appeals however dismissed her petition, saying the case “is moot and academic.”
In her recent petition for review filed with the Supreme Court today, Nasino mentioned Amanda Echanis and her month old baby Randall Emmanuel.
Nasino is “pursuing this action not just to attain justice for the untimely loss of her three-month-old daughter River Emmanuelle, but also to vindicate the rights of other persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) — pregnant and nursing mothers — who may have experienced the same cruelty of being separated and prevented from and breastfeeding their children.”
Katherine Panguban, one of Nasino’s lawyers, said, “This heartbreaking predicament of having babies separated from their detained mothers, and of being denied of their basic human right to their mother’s breastmilk, that is justified by rules issued by jail authorities, is what Reina Mae brings before the Supreme Court for its review and resolution.”
It would be remembered the court ordered the separation of Nasino and her daughter barely a month after River was born. Born underweight and deprived of mother’s milk, River’s health has further weakened which experts said led her to contract pneumonia and later on succumb to the disease on Oct. 9.
Nasino filed a motion for reconsideration twice to let her baby stay with her and breastfeed her exclusively for at least a year but this was denied by the court.
In her appeal, Nasino said that what happened to her and her daughter is bound to happen again should her case not be reviewed.
The high court, the petition said, “has the duty to formulate guiding and controlling constitutional precepts, doctrine or rules with respect to the application of the constitutional provision on the right to health in relation to nursing mother-PDLs [persons deprived of liberty] and their children.”
“The matter is capable of repetition or susceptible of recurrence. It better be resolved now for the education and guidance of all concerned,” the petition read.
Nasino’s mother Marites Asis also expressed her sympathy to Amanda Echanis and her one-month old son Randall Emmanuel.
“I call on the SC to solve this matter especially since there is a child involved,” she said in Filipino.