Detained activist granted furlough but…

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    THE Manila Regional Trial Court yesterday granted detained activist Reina Mae Nasino a three-day furlough to visit the wake of her baby daughter in Pandacan, Manila and attend the burial this Friday.

    But Manila City Jail warden Maria Ignacia Monteron, who received the order also yesterday, opposed the continuous three-day furlough that was supposed to start today, because of lack of personnel to escort Nasino.

    “Please be informed that this unit has only 12 personnel being utilized as our outside force and responsible for coordinating with other agencies, turn-over of our released PDLs (persons deprived of liberty) to their respective barangays and serve as escort duty in cases other PDLs need to be brought to hospital. As of today, we have 665 PDLs who are under our custody, thus we are depleted of personnel,” she said.

    Monteron also proposed shorter visiting hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    She also asked the court “that the day for the viewing of the remains of her daughter be on Oct. 14, 2020 only and that she will attend the burial at the Manila North Cemetery on October 16.”

    Gallegos set a hearing this morning on Monteron’s request.

    Sought for comment, Edre Olalia, chair of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), said the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology should not be allowed to defy a court order by making excuses.

    “Does it need an army to escort a grieving mother in deep bereavement and treat her like a hardened and armed dangerous criminal?” Olalia said.

    Manila RTC Branch 47 Judge Paulino Gallegos issued the order granting Nasino’s request during a hearing of her petition, attended by her lawyers from the NUPL and her mother, Marites Asis.

    NUPL lawyer Kathy Panguban said the three-day furlough is the “longest granted so far to a political detainee.”

    In 2014, the Pasig City RTC gave alleged communist leader Andrea Rosal just three hours to attend the wake of her daughter whom she lost just a day after birth.

    Panguban said state prosecutors did not oppose Nasino’s request for furlough but asked for certain conditions like the submission of date certificate of baby River, provision of escorts from the Manila City Jail, and submission of itinerary to the court while on furlough.

    Gallegos is the third judge to handle Nasino’s case for illegal possession of firearms and explosives after two other judges — Marivic Balisi-Umali and Dinnah Aguila-Topacio — inhibited from the case.

    Nasino was one month pregnant when she and several other activists were arrested by the police in Manila in November last year.

    She gave birth at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital last July. The court dismissed her pleas to stay with her daughter at the hospital for at least a year or to allow her baby to be taken to her detention cell with natal care facilities to be provided.

    Balisi-Umali ordered them separated when the baby was a month old.

    On September 24, baby River was brought to the hospital for diarrhea and fever. She had not left the hospital since. She died on Friday night.

    Nasino’s urgent plea was filed Friday after she was informed of her baby’s critical condition. On Monday, she filed a very urgent manifestation to be allowed temporary leave of detention to visit the wake of her daughter.