Lawyers push to reunite detained mother, deceased baby for the last time

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 01:06 PM

MANILA — The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers on Monday filed an urgent motion asking the court to reunite detained activist Reina Mae Nasino and her deceased daughter River for the last time.

The lawyers' group earlier tried to reunite the detained mother and her 3-month-old baby who died last Friday. 

“She implores, nay, pleads and begs, this Honorable Court to immediately give her the decent and humane chance to be with her baby daughter, whom she was not able to comfort and hold while in sickbed up to her dying hours, for the last time, and to properly grieve over her tragic and untimely passing,” said the motion filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 37.

Nasino’s mother, Marites Asis, accompanied the filing, insisting that her daughter is not a bad person.

The NUPL also wrote to Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta to bring to his attention Nasino’s case. 

The letter was received by Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

In the letter, NUPL lawyers detailed their pleas to provide accommodation to baby River inside the Manila City Jail and to give Nasino access to lactation facilities, all of which were denied by Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali, who previously handled the case before she inhibited.

Balisi-Umali previously denied Nasino’s request to be allowed to stay inside the hospital with her baby for 1 year citing the lack of BJMP personnel to guard her. 

In rejecting Nasino’s plea for her baby to be allowed to stay inside the jail, she cited a BJMP circular limiting an infant’s stay to only 1 month.

Balisi-Umali also ordered that River be turned over to her father or relative, upon the motion of the Manila City Jail Warden.

Asis took custody of the baby on August 13. 

A little over a month later, the baby was rushed to the hospital after suffering from diarrhea and COVID-like symptoms.

She was later diagnosed with acute respiratory disease syndrome and her conditioned worsened on Friday. She succumbed to pneumonia at 8:50pm.

Nasino is facing illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges following her arrest at the Bayan office in Tondo, Manila in November last year, part of the more than 60 arrested in a government crackdown against the Left and perceived leftists.

She has maintained her innocence, questioning the illegality of her arrest. Her lawyers said the search warrant was served on the wrong address 

But Judge Balisi-Umali junked her motion to quash, giving Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert, Executive Judge of Quezon City Regional Trial Court who issued the search warrants, the presumption of regularity in the performance of her duty — that she personally evaluated the application for search warrants as well as the testimonies of witnesses presented before her.

The issuance of the search warrants became controversial because aside from more than 60 arrested in different parts of the country on the basis of the search warrants, pictures showed Villavert meeting with NCRPO chief Debold Sinas the day before they were issued.

Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta however defended Villavert’s issuance of search warrants for implementation outside her jurisdiction.