July 25, 2021

Philippines: Anger over death of baby separated from jailed mother

The death of a three-month-old baby separated from her jailed mother despite pleas to keep the pair together has shocked the Philippines, reports the BBC’s Preeti Jha.

Reina Mae Nasino, a human rights worker, didn’t know she was pregnant when she was arrested last year in Manila. She put her missed period down to the stress of a night-time police raid in which she was arrested, alongside two fellow activists.

It was only during a medical examination in prison that the 23-year-old found out she was in her first trimester.

The death of Ms Nasino’s newborn last week – less than two months after the baby was removed from her care – has raised questions about the treatment of Philippine mothers in custody as many voiced their anger at the justice system for failing the child.

A challenging birth

Ms Nasino, who worked for the urban poverty group Kadamay, was arrested in November 2019 with two fellow activists after police raided an office where they lived at the time.

They were charged with the illegal possession of firearms and explosives – charges all three have denied. They say the ammunition was planted by authorities amid a widening crackdown against left-leaning activists.

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