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Monday, February 26, 2024

On the continuing acts of cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino

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KARAPATAN is an alliance of individuals, groups and organizations working for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines. Its founders and members have been at the forefront of the human rights struggle in the Philippines since the time of Marcos’ martial law regime.

Karapatan denounces the blatant and continuing acts of cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino. We believe that these are not mere random displays of heartlessness and barbarity; these are policy actions by no less than the Duterte government which has effected the highly questionable arrests and case against Reina Mae and her colleagues.

We aver that cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment of political prisoners is a policy and practice by this administration, considering the seemingly concerted acts of the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the courts — all under the baton of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Such acts and policy are shamelessly in full display before the public.

Reina Mae has been denied due process rights. Records on the application of the search warrant used against her arrest and that of two others have yet to be released to her and her counsels almost one year after their arrests.

Her efforts to question her arrest have fallen on deaf ears and her pleas to be with her baby after she gave birth were disregarded by the courts and jail authorities. These prison officials neglected to ensure her right to be with her daughter during her baby’s final moments; these same jail authorities used numerous stupid alibis to reduce her furlough — and, in multiple ways, through the jail guards and the police, showed grave disrespect on her right to grieve properly during her three-hour visit to her daughter’s wake.

We ask: under whose instructions were these acts undertaken? By President Rodrigo Duterte himself as chair of the NTF-ELCAC, who brags about the coordinated whole-of-government response against those branded as “communists” or “terrorists” like Reina Mae? Or are these from any of the trio of doom — Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon or Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who are all acknowledged major movers in the NTF-ELCAC?

Despite the Malacañang’s dry expression of sympathy on Baby River’s death, its despicable policy is betrayed by its shameless, brutal, and callous acts.

Tomorrow, Reina Mae is expected to bury her baby, and we fear that this cruelty will once again be imposed on her. It is up to us to assert and fight for the rights of Reina Mae and Baby River, and of many mothers and children who contend with this administration’s ruthless and inhumane barbarity.

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