Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta said the Supreme Court tried to help detained activist Reina Mae Nasino whose daughter died in a hospital while she was in jail.
Mr. Peralta said the court was not negligent in the case of Ms. Nasino.
“You know sa SC hindi rin naman nagpabaya dun kay Mrs. Nasino,” he said in an online briefing. “We tried to help her eh.” (You know, in the SC, we did not neglect the case of Mrs. Nasino.)
Ms. Nasino, who was then pregnant, was among the 22 political prisoners who filed a petition in April to allow their release based on humanitarian grounds due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The court in July decided on the case, referring them to the respective trial courts where their cases were pending, treating their petition as an application for bail or recognizance.
The court announced the ruling in September.
Ms. Nasino gave birth on July 1. Her three-month old daughter died of pneumonia on Oct. 9.
Mr. Peralta said he immediately asked the trial court to act on Ms. Nasino’s motion to see her daughter after previous judges handling the motion inhibited themselves.
Ms. Nasino was given three days leave to visit her daughter’s wake and burial.
However, her allowed visitation time was reduced to two days, at three hours each day, after the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory warden opposed her furlough, citing lack of personnel.
Mr. Peralta noted the court’s circular on the reduction of bail issued during the community quarantine to address congestion in detention facilities.
“That’s why I said upon the initiative of the Court we reduced the bail bond. Kung meron lang sanang power ang SC to go against the Constitutional prohibition na hindi pwedeng mag-bail kung capital punishment yan,” he said. (If only the SC had to power to go against the Constitutional prohibition that capital cases cannot be bailed.)
“Kung nilagay yan na (if it said that) they can be released if the evidence of guilt is weak for humanitarian reason, agad-agad di na kailangan ng petition nyan (there would be no need for a petition as it would have been acted on at once). But may (there are) limitations eh. So that’s what happened,” he said.
He said he hopes that Ms. Nasino understands the court.
“We tried our best,” he said. “That’s what really happened eh. There was no intention to delay it. Talagang may limitations kasi eh (because there really are limitations).”
Ms. Nasino was heavily guarded by law enforcers when she visited her daughter’s wake and burial, according to the group Kapatid which supports family and friends of political prisoners. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas