MANILA, Philippines — While the country is fighting a pandemic and detention facilities are struggling to prevent its spread inside prison, a political detainee has given birth to a baby girl.
Political detainee Reina Mae Casino, on July 1 delivered her baby girl at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila.
Nasino is among the petitioners asking the Supreme Court to allow the temporary release of high-risk inmates citing that their continued stay inside prison is riskier due to congestion.
The petition was filed last April when Nasino was six months pregnant. Aside from Nasino, other petitioners are elderly detention prisoners with medical conditions such as hypertension, asthma, heart problem, emphysema while a 21-year-old co-petitioner has leprosy.
The petition is still pending before the Supreme Court.
“We lament that the Supreme Court is taking a long time to make a decision on the ‘urgent petition’ filed last April in which Reina Mae is one of the petitioners. We regret that the High Tribunal did not take action with exigency. If only they were able to decide earlier and did not let almost three months pass, Reina Mae could have given birth without fearing for her life and her child,” said Fides Lim, the group’s spokesperson.
Lim said they are hoping that Nasino will be allowed temporary liberty on bail or allow her to stay longer at the hospital in order to breastfeed her baby which is currently much needed with COVID-19 around.
Lim hopes that their plea will be granted as they want to avoid what happened to another political detainee, Andrea Rosal whose newborn child died due to complications.
Rosal was eventually cleared by the Pasig Court of kidnapping and murder and was ordered released.
“We hope that the government will take our appeal seriously as we want to avoid what happened to Andrea Rosal, a political detainee whose newborn died because of complications. This is why we want Reina Mae to be granted release or to be allowed to stay with her child for a longer time. It is most cruel to separate a baby from her mother particularly during this health crisis,” she said.
According to Atty. Maria Sol Taule, one of Reina Mae’s lawyers, they are filing a motion for her to be with her newborn child “on humanitarian grounds.” She said this is a separate action from an earlier motion filed by human rights lawyers to quash search warrants and suppress evidence.
“The arrest of Reina Mae is illegal and the search warrants used to justify her arrest are marred with irregularities,” noted Taule, referring to the case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives manufactured against Nasino and two other young activists following a crackdown on people’s organizations in Manila and Bacolod in November 2019.
On the other hand, the petition filed by Nasino and the other high-risk inmates will be again up for discussion during high court’s en banc session next week, an insider said.