'Black parade' funeral for baby River all set; Nasino’s relatives plead ‘solemnity’

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 15 2020 08:56 PM

Political detainee Reina Mae Nasino and representatives of the National Union of People’s Lawyers arrive at the wake of 3-month-old baby River at a funeral home in Pandacan, Manila on October 14, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Concerned citizens, Reina Mae Nasino’s loved ones, and her relatives will mount what they describe as a “black parade” funeral for the detained activist’s daughter baby River, who is set to be laid to rest at the Manila North Cemetery on Friday.

Bayan Metro Manila Chairperson Mong Palatino told law enforcement authorities to “back off” during the child’s funeral, and asked them to let Nasino bury her child in peace.

"Back off police, back off Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), DILG, PNP, Duterte government… Wala sanang overkill deployment ng pulis. 'Wag sanang gawing militarized ang pag-escort kay Reina Mae Nasino," Palatino said.

(I hope there would be no overkill in terms of the police’s deployment. They should not militarize the escort for Reina Mae Nacino.)

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Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Nasino’s relatives and some concerned citizens will first light candles in Mendiola before proceeding to the cemetery. The funeral will start at 10 a.m. at La Funeraria Rey in Pandacan, Manila.

A necrological service will be held later at 6 p.m.

Maritess Asis, Nasino's mother, pleaded for a solemn funeral on Friday.

"Sana po maintindihan ninyo ang kalagayan ng aking anak na naghihirap ng kanyang kalooban, na makita niyang muli. Pagbigyan niyo na po na magkita sila hanggang sa huling sandali ng kanilang pagkikita," Asis said.

(I hope you will understand how painful this is for my daughter, how painful it was to see her child again. Please allow them to see each other for the last time.)

She also expressed gratitude to all those who sympathized with her daughter.

"Masakit po yung nangyari sa buhay ng aking anak. Pero sa dami ng mga supporters at mga kaibigan at nagmamahal sa kanilang dalawa, lubos po akong nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat, dahil hindi po namin ito makakaya nang pamilya lang po namin," she said.

(What happened to my daughter was painful. With all the supporters, friends, and those who loved them, we are grateful to all of you, because our family couldn't bear all these by ourselves.)

Nasino was initially granted a 3-day furlough, but the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 amended it to just 6 hours, spread over 2 days.

Kenneth James Dela Paz from Karapatan cried justice for baby River’s death.

"Napakadilim ng nangyaring ito. Napakasakit sa puso namin ang nangyari kay Baby River," Dela Paz said in a press conference at La Funeraria Rey, where the child’s wake was held.

"Hindi siya nabigyan ng pagkakataon na mabuhay. Hindi siya nabigyan ng pagkakataon ng estado na makapiling ang kanyang ina," he added.

(This is a tragic incident. What happened to baby River is heartbreaking. She was not given a chance to live. The state did not give her a chance to be with her mother.)

Palatino called out the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for what he says is its brutal crackdown on activists.

He said the administration should be held "accountable for what happened to baby River."

Based on the initial information provided by Nasino's legal counsel, the Manila North Cemetery said it would only allow up to 30 people inside the cemetery.

"Gusto namin sabihin na dapat hindi pigilan ang mga kababayan natin na gustong samahan ang pamilya at si Reina Mae na ilibing si Baby River. Huwag pigilan ang bayan na magluksa kasama ang pamilya,” Palatino said.

(We want to stress that our countrymen should not be prevented from joining baby River's funeral. Do not discourage the country from grieving with the family.)

Meanwhile, Nacino's legal counsel lawyer Katherine Panguban said they would file before the court a manifestation condemning the tension between the personnel of BJMP and Nacino, when the latter visited the wake of her child on Wednesday.

"Magpa-file po kami sa korte ng manifestation indicating ito ngang nangyaring kaguluhan kahapon. Kinokenda natin yung hindi pagbibigay ng pagkakataon na makapagluksa nang maayos si Ina kasama ang kanyang pamilya," Panguban said.

(We will file before the court a manifestation indicating what happened yesterday. We condemn how personnel denied Ina of the chance to grieve with her family.)

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