MANILA, Philippines —A Manila court ruled to separate political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino from her newborn child after junking her plea to be allowed to stay at the hospital for a year amid fears of COVID-19 in the cramped city jail.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20 denied Nasino’s motion to be allowed to stay at the hospital or the prison nursery with her newborn daughter until the baby turns a year old. The court instead directed that the infant “be turned over to her father or any relative, who could take care of her better.”
“The jail does not have sufficient facility for the care of the baby,” Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali said in a two-page order made public on Wednesday.
Nasino gave birth at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on July 1. She and her newborn child were returned to the city jail the following day.
The STAR reported that, according to her lawyer, pending the resolution of her motion, Nasino and her baby are in a separate cell at the female dormitory.
In junking Nasino’s motion, the court also noted the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory officer-in-charge’s letter that their manpower is already depleted and that the facility cannot deploy personnel for her stay in the hospital for a year.
It also noted that Nasino’s request for a lavatory for hand washing, cooling facilities to store breast milk and electrical outlet for breast pumps would be better coursed through the local government unit.
‘Inhuman and cruel’
KAPATID decried the court’s ruling to separate a mother from her 22-day old child as “inhuman and cruel.” Its spokesperson Fides Lim said: “How can you tear apart a baby from her mother at this time?”
Lim added that with the lower court’s decision, the Supreme Court “break this impasse,” citing the months-old urgent petition at-risk prisoners filed in April.
Nasino has since given birth but the SC has still yet to resolve their petition. — with report from The STAR/Marc Jayson Cayabyab
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