“Most importantly, they demonstrate the BJMP and PNP’s unconscionable contempt for the accused’s grief and suffering as well as total disregard to human feelings, oblivious to public sensibilities and unmitigated disrespect for out eternally observed culture in times of bereavement.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Lawyers of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino filed a supplemental manifestation on Monday, Oct. 19, complaining the “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of their client by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) during the burial of Nasino’s daughter.
In its manifestation filed before the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) detailed what transpired on Oct. 16.
“Instead of simply providing escort to the accused during her inordinately brief furlough, about 43 jail and police officers hijacked and commandeered the event and denied the accused and her family of their one and only last chance to peacefully and solemnly lay the child to her final resting place,” the manifestation read.
During the funeral procession of River Emmanuel, the police instructed the driver of the hearse to speed off, leaving Nasino, her family and supporters behind.
When Nasino arrived at the cemetery, one of her lawyers Katherine Panguban asked the police to jail guards to remove Nasino’s handcuffs so she could say her last goodbye in dignity. Panguban’s and the relatives’ pleas fell on deaf ears.
The lawyers also lamented how the police and jail guards flanked Nasino on all sides instead of her relatives.
With the heavy police presence, the NUPL said that that it is not true that the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) lacked personnel to escort Nasino through her furlough.
The BJMP cited such reason when it objected to the three-day furlough initially granted by the court to Nasino. The court then decided to shorten the grieving mother’s furlough to only six hours in two days.
The NUPL also assailed claims of Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III’s that the heavy presence of the police and jails guards is to ensure the “observance of health protocols.” The lawyers said “it was the jail and police personnel who blatantly did not observe social distancing.”
“Most importantly, they demonstrate the BJMP and PNP’s unconscionable contempt for the accused’s grief and suffering as well as total disregard to human feelings, oblivious to public sensibilities and unmitigated disrespect for out eternally observed culture in times of bereavement,” the lawyers said.
Meanwhile, Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid, a support group of friends and families of political prisoners, lambasted Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for defending the security personnel who escorted Nasino.
Lim said videos and photos “clearly show how the government and police agencies under the direct supervision of the DILG disrespected the family’s time of grief and denied a mother her last chance to stay at her child’s side.”
Lim also appealed to the Commission on Human Rights and International Committee on the Red Cross to regularly monitor Nasino as well as two other female political prisoners at the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory.
“Given the extraordinary cruelty she experienced these past few days, plus considering the opposition filed by the warden which reduced her 3-day furlough to just 3 hours for the wake and 3 hours for the burial of her baby daughter, Reina Mae needs regular follow-up to see to it that her rights and welfare and security are protected while under state custody,” Lim said.
Nasino is now reportedly in isolation for 14-day quarantine period.
In her letter, Lim raised concern on Nasino’s mental and physical condition because families can no longer visit their detained loved ones due to the restriction brought about by the pandemic.