A human rights group called for the immediate release of three activists after the Court of Appeals (CA) nullified the search warrants that led to their arrest.
“Nothing now stands in the way of freedom for Reina Mae Nasino, Alma Moran, and Ram Carlo Bautista after nearly three years in jail for an offense they did not commit because it was a pure police invention,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid.
The CA announced the decision on August 31 granting the petition for certiorari filed by the activists against Manila Presiding Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali of the Regional Trial Court, who issued the warrants.
Lim said the courts must order the prompt release of the activists and let Nasino “visit the grave of her baby daughter and mourn her in peace, which was so cruelly denied to her during the wake and burial of [the baby].”
Nasino was pregnant when she was apprehended in Nov. 2019. She gave birth in detention but the child died after they were separated.
CA Associate Justice Emily San Gaspar-Gito noted some discrepancies in the application for the search warrants, which have three different addresses.
Gaspar-Gito said the irregularities “are more than enough to debunk the presumption of regularity of performance of official duties.”
“Clearly, petitioners’ right against unreasonable search and seizures was blatantly trampled upon,” Gaspar-Gito said in the decision.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said the CA’s decision further proves how state forces could be hell-bent to implicate activists and rights defenders in common crimes and besmirch the work that they do for the advancement of basic human rights.
“It could not bring back the days and months lost for them that they could have spent with their families, colleagues and for the legitimate advocacies for the workers, the urban poor and the marginalized that they have always been promoting,” the group said in a statement. – with reports from Bulatlat.com.