“The right of Maria Miradel Torres as a mother and her newborn’s right are interrelated and cannot be considered separate issues.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – On the International day of solidarity with political prisoners, Public Attorney’s Office Chief Persida Acosta together with leaders of the human rights group Karapatan and the women’s group Gabriela visited political prisoner Maria Miradel Torres at the Philippine General Hospital charity ward on Wednesday, Dec. 3.
Torres and her two week old son Karl will be together for the next two months as the court has granted her motion to stay at the hospital. “The jail’s policy is that I will be returned in detention five days after I gave birth. But our motion was granted so we will be together until Jan. 26 next year,” Torres told Bulatlat.com.
The Infanta Regional Trial Court Branch 65, on November 7, has granted two more months starting Nov. 26 for Torres to fully recover from her illness and for her to be able to nurse her newborn child.
Karapatan said Torres was diagnosed with upper respiratory tract infection and community-acquired pneumonia, while her baby has Sepsis.
Torres said that if she would be asked, she said she would like to file a motion to be with Karl beyond two months. “If I would still not be released, I’d want to be with Karl for at least six months so I can breastfeed him,” she said.
In a statement, female political prisoners at the Taguig City Jail supported Torres’ plea. “In the case of Maria Miradel Torres and her son who also has become a political prisoner since he was conceived until he was born, we strongly call on President Aquino to release the mother and child as an early Christmas present.”
The statement was signed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Ma. Loida Magpatoc and other political detainees Rhea Pareja, Marissa Espedido, Pastora Latagan, Miguela Peniero, Evelyn Legaspi, Gemma Carag and Andrea Rosal.
“The right of Maria Miradel Torres as a mother and her newborn’s right are interrelated and cannot be considered separate issues. It is her maternal right and obligation to be with her child, while her child has the right to stay with his mother and be given proper care and love,” the statement read.
They also criticized the special treatment accorded by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) to Janet Lim Napoles and Gigi Reyes, the former chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who, according them, have their own rooms at the ground floor of the Taguig City Jail. “Their rooms are adjacent to that of the warden’s office.”
“While Miradel and all other inmates are suffering in their cell, the situation is opposite to those of Janet Lima Napoles and Atty. Gigi Reyes who both have cases of plundering the nation’s coffers.”
They added, “The prisoners at the Female Dormitory of Taguig City Jail witnessed the hardships of Miradel. The rotten jail situation is not fit for a pregnant mother, moreso because she had a delicate pregnancy. She was in a congested, noisy, and hot dorm at the 4th floor of the TCJ.”
The female political prisoners of the Taguig City Jail called on President Aquino to release all political prisoners in the country especially the women, the elderly and the sick. They also called on the public to uphold peace based on social justice and support the call for the resumption of the peace talks between the BS Aquino government and the NDFP.