MPD, BJMP officers charged over treatment of detained activist

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    DETAINED activist Reina Mae Nasino yesterday named Bureau of Jail Management and Penology director Alan Iral, Manila Police District director Rolando Miranda and several other police and jail officers as respondents in criminal and administrative complaints that she filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.

    Nasino accused the respondents of violation of the Anti-Torture Act (RA 9745), the law Defining Certain Rof a Person Arrested, Detained, or under Custodial Investigation (violation of RA 7438), grave coercion, and maltreatment of prisoners.

    Also named in the complaint were MPD Station 5 commander Levi Hope Basilio, Manila PS2 commander Magno Gallora Jr., jail officers Angoluan, Brillantes, Navarro, and Pasiona; and police officers Pascual, Rara, Felipe, Reyes, Razon, Santiago, Padilla, Villanueva, Murao, Mendoza, Sales, Dela Cruz, Ongjoco and John and Jane Does.

    Nasino also charged them with grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, and oppression/grave abuse of authority which, if established, are punishable by dismissal from service.

    She likewise filed a separate complaint for violation of Section 16 of RA 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2020 against Iral and jail inspector Ignacia Monteron for denying her the right to breastfeed her child, baby River, even if the BJMP has an existing memorandum circular requiring that a nursing person deprived of liberty (PDL) be given the opportunity to provide milk to her infant three to four times daily.

    In her 69-page complaint, Nasino specifically named Monteron as the one who forced her to give up her baby, made false representations with the Manila regional trial court and deprived her child of her mother’s breastmilk.

    “Baby River was taken away from me too soon. At six weeks from childbirth, I have not fully recuperated from the physical, mental and psychological toll of labor and delivery and was still experiencing postpartum crying spells,” Nasino narrated. “Respondent Monteron, who is a woman, knew that a new mother’s separation from her newborn infant would bring her indescribable agony.”

    Nasino’s lawyers noted that under Section 4 of the Anti-Torture Act, any action by a person in authority that affects the mind or undermine the dignity and morale of the complainant constitutes “mental or psychological torture.”

    The complainant was arrested on November 5, 2019 on allegations of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and found out that she was pregnant when she was already in jail.

    She gave birth to River Emmanuelle Nasino on July 1, 2020 at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital but was brought back to her detention cell the following day.

    On August 13, 2020, citing a court directive, mother and child were separated. The six-week old infant was turned over to the care of Nasino’s mother.

    However, River developed a fever on October 1, 2020 and died eight days later of acute respiratory distress syndrome while being treated at the Philippine General Hospital.

    Even at the wake which Nasino was allowed to attend, she said police officers tried to forcibly whisk her away twice even if the court had issued a ruling allowing her time to grieve for the loss of her child.