Palace: Duterte can't act on detained activist's plea to reunite with dead baby

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 02:05 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2020 02:29 PM

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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte's hands are tied over a jailed activist's appeal to reunite with her newborn daughter who died in the hospital after a court barred her from seeing her terminally ill child, Malacañang said Monday. 

Activist Reina Mae Nasino who is facing illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges, gave birth to baby River on July 1, 8 months after her arrest. The infant died of bacterial infection on Friday, hours after an urgent motion was filed at the Manila regional trial court to allow Nasino to spend time with River. 

"Talagang nakakalungkot po iyang insidenteng iyan, pero wala pong magagawa ang Presidente," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

(That incident is really saddening, but the person cannot do anything.)

"Iyan po ay nasa huridiksyon ng ating hukuman. The decision lies wholly with the Regional Trial Court, and the Regional Trial Court has ruled. We respect that decision, and the Executive will implement that decision," he told reporters. 

(That lies within the jurisdiction of our court.) 

The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers earlier tried to keep mother and baby together, but Manila RTC Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali sided with the position of the detention facility that its limited resources cannot cover hospital detention. 

This is even though River had a low birthweight at 5.5 pounds, which required her to be breastfed every 2 hours, said NUPL Metro Manila secretary general Kath Panguban. 

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago has appealed to the court to let Nasino visit the wake of her daughter.