Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the case against detained activist Reina Mae Nasino will proceed without any hitch.
“We sympathize with the accused for her personal loss, but her case is now before the court and the judicial process has to move on,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.
Prosecutors did not oppose the request by Nasino’s counsel for a three-day furlough for her to attend the wake and burial of her deceased child, Baby River, this week.
Nasino’s supporters, however, have since criticized the government’s handling of the situation.
“I can’t blame them for their opinion. our justice system, like all systems created by human beings, is not a perfect system. It is shaped by our history and culture as a people, our values and attitudes, our institutional structures, and our economic and social condition. its development is a work that is continually in progress, and we all should do our part in it, by calling out those who have the power to institute reforms, by sharing progressive ideas instead of destructive criticisms, and by nurturing an attitude of concern and compassion for the oppressed and the downtrodden in our midst,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government took exception to allegations that the deployment of police personnel to the wake and burial of Nasino’s child is an overkill.
“We are not just talking of security but also ensuring that health protocols are observed. We just anticipated that many people would be attending it. The security arrangement is just proper because of the issue at hand. It’s more anticipative rather than being overkill,” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a Laging Handa briefing.
Clad in personal protective equipment (PPE), Nasino was allowed to visit her dead child, River, while accompanied by jail guards Wednesday.
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 Judge Paulino Gallegos initially allowed Nasino three days to visit the wake of her three-month-old child Baby River.
However, this was reduced to two days — from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday when she was allowed to visit the wake of her child and another three hours on Friday for the burial.
This was due to the claim of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) that they are undermanned to secure Nasino’s visit to the wake.
At the funeral home, jail guards removed the inmate’s handcuffs despite standing rules on transporting inmates. Five guards from the Manila City jail was augmented by units from Manila police.
The order for Nasino’s release was granted in open court during the hearing of the very urgent motion filed by her lawyers.
Nasino’s case was among those remanded by the Supreme Court (SC) last July to the lower courts as it ruled on the petition filed by several prisoners who alleged that they are among the elderly, sick, and pregnant population of inmates exposed to the danger of contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Nasino is facing charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives after she and two others were arrested in a raid by the police at the office of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Manila in November last year. (PNA)