Political prisoner Torres to give birth soon

Political prisoner Maria Miradel Torres, 26, is expected to deliver her baby today, November 19, 2014. She was brought to the Philippine General Hospital yesterday for a check-up but she was immediately admitted after undergoing medical examination.

Torres, a member of Gabriela in Mauban, Quezon, was four-months pregnant when she was illegally arrested on June 20, 2014 in Lucena by joint elements of the Philippine National Police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and Southern Luzon Command (SoLCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. She is charged with murder and frustrated murder at the Infanta Regional Trial Court, Quezon province. The alias warrant of arrest used to “capture” Torres was issued by the court only on June 20, 2014, on the day of her arrest.

“Torres should be immediately released for just and humanitarian reasons. Aside from the utterly baseless charges against her, the BS Aquino government is committing further injustice by depriving her and her baby a healthy and nurturing environment in keeping her detained,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General.

According to Torres, she was not examined by BJMP Doctor Dr. Jaime Claveria Jr. since she was transferred to the Taguig City Jail-Female Dorm on June 25. Despite doctor’s order for complete bed rest due to threatened abortion, Torres was transferred to Taguig City Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa from Camp Gen. Guillermo Nakar Station Hospital at the Solcom headquarters in Lucena City.

At the TCJ-FD, Torres shares the detention cell with three other inmates. One of the inmates reportedly has tuberculosis. Torres was assigned to sleep on the third deck of the bed. BJMP personnel confiscated her medicine and supplements for pregnancy upon admission at the Taguig City Jail.

On November 7, Judge Arnelo Mesa of the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 in Infanta issued a joint order directing Jail Warden Jundelina Jagunap to “bring the person of the accused detainee Maria Miradel Torres to her alleged OB Gyne Dr. Melissa Amosco for her medical check-up and likewise said warden is ordered also to bring the person of the accused to said hospital (PGH) whenever her due date for the delivery of her baby will arrive to be properly provided with appropriate number of jail guards/escorts and to stay at the said hospital for one week including her delivery date and thereafter to immediately return her to her detention facility.”

Said court order however was only received on November 17. Torres has been suffering from cough and fever since November 15.

On November 18, Torres was brought to the PGH along with 10 jail guards. She underwent ultrasound procedure for the first time since her arrest. Torres is expecting a baby boy.

Torres is among the 487 political prisoners in the country to date, 53 of them are ailing and 40 are elderly. More than 200 of them were illegally arrested under the BS Aquino administration.

On the evening of June 20, 2014, elements from the PNP and Solcom forcibly entered the house in Ilayang Ilam, Lucena City, Quezon province where Torres stayed. A policeman said Torres was under arrest for being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) using the aliases “Alex,” and “Sydney.” Torres insisted to see the warrant of arrest but she was not shown any.

Torres, who was then four-months pregnant, was confined at a hospital in Quezon province from June 11 to 18 due to profuse bleeding. During her stay at the hospital, several men inquired about Torres. A female who introduced herself as “Flor” and who claimed to be the provincial governor’s aide offered assistance. On June 18, Torres was discharged from the hospital and went home to Ilayang Iyam. While traveling home, she and her companion noticed men following them.

While at the TCJ-FD, Torres was brought to Taguig Hospital due to continuous heavy bleeding. She was hospitalized from July 3 to August 11. She was brought back to the hospital for a follow-up check-up twice after her confinement but she did not undergo ultrasound procedure.

“The Aquino administration should release Torres and all political prisoners, especially those who are sick and elderly. The charges against them should be withdrawn or dismissed. The filing of trumped up charges as a policy of the BS Aquino government is an attack against the fundamental right of individuals and peoples to liberty and the people’s exercise of political and civil rights, as it is a desperate tactic to quell the people’s rising discontent against his administration,” Palabay ended. ###