On the granting of furlough for Reina Mae Nasino

Granting Reina Mae Nasino a three-day furlough is a welcome act of compassion and reprieve for a mother who has already suffered too much cruelty — from an unjust imprisonment due to trumped-up charges, to being separated from her child right after giving birth, and now, the loss of her child. This court decision may be largely due to efforts of Reina Mae Nasino and her family, lawyers, human rights groups, and the general public to shed light on the issue. Any condition by jail authorities or the prosecution on this furlough shouldn’t curtail her rights to properly grieve for her baby’s death. 

The decisive and positive action of the courts to grant the plea of political prisoners for humanitarian release and to allow Reina Mae Nasino to take care of her newborn child could have averted this tragedy. Nonetheless, our struggle for justice for mother and child is far from over.

The sheriff of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 has called Reina Mae Nasino’s lawyers saying that there will be another hearing tomorrow. The court received a letter from the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory opposing the three-day furlough allegedly due to lack of personnel — threatening Reina Mae Nasino’s only chance to properly grieve this terrible loss, and to see her child one last time.

We call this torture. This is another enraging and callous act. Wala na ba talagang katapusan ang pagpapahirap, tortyur at inhustisya ng gobyernong ito sa isang ina na naghihinagpis? 

Jail authorities use these kinds of alibis — logistical issues, funding and resources — to deliberately prolong the agony of many imprisoned political prisoners like Reina Mae Nasino. But all these reasons disappear when people like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ask for furloughs.

Our fight will not cease — and in mourning, we find our strong resolve to reassert our call to grant furlough to Reina Mae Nasino and to her and all political prisoners who are unjustly detained for fabricated cases because of the Duterte administration’s merciless crackdown on dissent. We must not allow for another life — especially innocent lives — to be lost. We enjoin all freedom-loving Filipinos to join us in this urgent and just call.

 

Cristina Palabay
Karapatan Secretary General