MMDA disowns spokesperson's tirades against grieving mom-activist


Posted at Oct 19 2020 05:51 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2020 12:32 PM

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Monday disowned its spokesperson's remark that jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino deserved tight security during her 3-month-old baby's funeral. 

While MMDA Spokesperson Celine Pialago's statement drew both "positive and negative comments," it was her "personal opinion" and not the agency's, said MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia. 

The administrators of Pialago's Facebook page, where she made the comment, were not employees of the MMDA, he told reporters. 

Pialago earlier clarified that she only had 7 administrators on her Facebook page, including 2 brothers aged 19 and 25. Facebook allows a maximum of 12 administrators, she added. 

Pialago earlier apologized for using the phrase "drama serye (series)" in referring to sympathizers of activist Reina Mae Nasino and her 3-month-old-baby. 

However, the official said she was not sorry for saying that Nasino deserved to be surrounded by dozens of armed guards as she laid her daughter to rest.

 Heavily armed prison officials guarding Nasino refused to uncuff her despite pleas from her family and human rights supporters, who have decried what they described as inhumane treatment of Nasino and other mothers in Philippine jails.

"We were denied the chance to be together. I did not even see your laughter," said the 23-year-old Nasino, who was seen crying in front of her daughter River's tiny white coffin. 

Born pre-mature in July, River was separated from her mother mid-August as Nasino stayed in City Jail while awaiting trial for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Nasino and two others were arrested in November 2019. They said the charges were trumped up, alleging police planted evidence. Nasino was also not allowed to visit her daughter at the hospital despite pleas from human rights groups. 

- With a report from Reuters