HomeEquality & JusticeChurch, rights groups decry prolonged jail time for Manila activists

Church, rights groups decry prolonged jail time for Manila activists

Activist groups said "state-sanctioned harassments" result in "much worse attacks," including the killing of activists

Church and human rights organizations in Manila on Tuesday, September 13, called for the immediate release of three political activists, including a woman whose newborn child died weeks after being separated from her.

“There is no reason for the Manila Regional Trial Court to hold the human rights activists much longer,” said Father Dionito Cabillas of the Philippine Independent Church and the group Isaiah Ministry.

Speaking before protesters outside a court in Manila, the priest said the detainees have been “unfairly and unjustly locked up for three years.”

On August 31, the country’s Court of Appeals granted the “petition for certiorari” filed by Reina Mae Nasino, who lost her child, Ram Carlo Bautista, and Alma Moran against Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali of Manila.

The appellate court nullified the search warrants issued by Balisi-Umali that led to the arrest of the activists in November 2019.

The court also declared “all evidence procured by virtue thereof are deemed inadmissible.”

Maritas Asis, mother of Nasino, appealed to the courts to release her daughter “who has suffered so much already for something she didn’t commit” even to just allow her to visit the grave of her daughter, Baby River.

- Newsletter -

Nasino gave birth to Baby River on July 1, 2020, while in incarceration, but the infant died in a hospital after three months.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against the activists, but is still waiting for the Manila Regional Trial Court to rule on the motion.

“In view of the Court of Appeals’ decision … there is no more basis to sustain movants’ prosecution before this honorable court and to continue their detention,” read an NUPL statement before the court.

Patrick Joshua Santos, also of the Philippine Independent Church, called on government agencies and the Philippine Congress to look into the cases of other political detainees “who are suffering inside a prison cell because of trumped-up cases and false charges.”

Luigi Trinidad, spokesperson of the activist New Patriotic Alliance in the national capital said in a statement that before the arrest of the three activists, “they were victims of massive vilification and red-tagging.”

“Red-tagging of political activists and human rights workers must stop,” said the group. “These state-sanctioned harassments lead to much worse attacks. Many were already killed summarily,” it added.

Lawyer Katherine Panguban, Nasino’s counsel, said she will exhaust “all legal remedies” for the immediate release of her client and the two other activists.

“We are seeking the court’s ruling to dismiss the charges,” she said. “For now, we are waiting for the Office of the Solicitor General to comment on our motion.”

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.