MANILA - A Manila court has denied the plea of a detainee who recently gave birth to stay in a hospital for a year to take care of her newborn baby, a ruling that her lawyer said would effectively separate the mother from her child.
The Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 on Monday denied the motion of Reina Mae Nasino, who had hoped to spend more time with her weeks-old baby at a hospital.
"In light of the limited resources of the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory as presented by its Officer-in-Charge and of which the Court is aware, the instant Motion of Reina Mae Nasino is denied," Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali said, siding with the position taken by the detention facility.
In addition, Nasino's request for a lavatory, refrigerator and electrical outlet for breast pumps were referred to the local government unit or appropriate government agency.
The jail officer-in-charge opposed Nasino's motion saying they "cannot provide personnel to be utilized to escort PDL (person deprived of liberty) Nasino in the hospital for 12 months," pointing out that they only have 64 personnel, 30 percent of whom are on home quarantine while another 29 percent are assigned outside the jail. The remaining 41 percent manage the detention facility.
"Personnel in active status stretch out their time and effort just to meet the deadlines that the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) higher office and other agencies asked us to compl[y] with. We cannot compromise the security and safety of eight hundred seventeen (817) PDLs [for] one (1) PDL who is nursing mother alone," the jail officer-in-charge said.
Nasino gave birth on July 1 while in detention on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. She was arrested in a raid in the office of leftist group Bagong Alyasang Makabayan in Tondo, Manila in November last year, along with 2 others.
She has denied the allegations.
Nasino is one of 22 petitioners who had asked the Supreme Court to release the sick, elderly and other inmates most vulnerable to the coronavirus in cramped jails, but no action has been taken by the Supreme Court so far.
Informed by her lawyer about the outcome of the court ruling, Nasino broke down and pleaded for more consideration.
"Nananawagan po ako na sa kahit po mahabang panahon, makasama ko po 'yung aking anak dahil hindi po deserve naming mag-ina na maghiwalay kaagad. Hindi karapat-dapat na makaramdam 'yung mga bata na mahiwalay kaagad sa kanilang mga magulang, lalo na sa kanilang ina. Hindi naman deserve ng magnanay dahil sa sinampa nilang gawa-gawang kaso sa amin," she said in an audio recording posted on Twitter by her lawyer Maria Sol Taule.
(I appeal for longer time to be with my baby because we don't deserve to be separated. Children should not experience separation from their parents, especially their mothers. We don't deserve this just because of the made-up case filed against me.)
"Nararamdaman ko ang yakap niya, nararamdaman ko 'yun. Sana bigyan pa kami ng sapat na panahon para magsama pa kahit papaano."
(I can feel my baby's embrace, I feel it. I hope we will be give enough time to be together somehow.)
Taule said the ruling meant the mother and child would be separated from each other.
"Today, the court ruled to separate political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino from her child. She broke down during our call. I have no words. I do not know how to console this mother. I kept quiet as I listen to her pleas in between sobs," she said.
"This system has failed Reina Mae. It is cruel and heartless," she added.
A livid National Union of Peoples' Lawyers President Edre Olalia minced no words issuing a statement: "We have lost our sense of humanity. Even newborn animals are not separated from their mothers. This is outrageous and atrocious. And it cuts deeply."