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Baby separated from detainee-mom dies at 3-months-old

River, the three-month-old daughter of detained activist Reina Mae Nasino, died on Friday night after she was diagnosed with pneumonia, an organization of families and friends of political prisoners said Friday.

According to Kapatid, River died at the Intensive Care Unit of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) at 8:50 p.m. due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome.

“There are no words to describe the anguish that Reina Mae is feeling now. She was denied of her right to take care of her child and to see her at the hospital while still alive and was struggling for a chance to survive,” Kapatid said in a statement.

River was brought to the Manila Medical Center on September 24 after she exhibited coronavirus disease 2019 symptoms such as fever and diarrhea.

Though she later tested negative for the virus, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and was transferred to the PGH’s intensive care unit.

Her pediatrician on Friday afternoon reported that her “lungs have succumbed to bacterial infection and are quickly deteriorating” and that she may “expire any moment.” 

“We assert our call for the compassionate release of Reina Mae from prison to correct this blatant injustice done to her and her baby who was never given a chance to live. We ask the court and the government to allow Reina Mae to grieve with her family in this period in her life,” Kapatid said

According to the group, the courts and the government were responsible for the chain of tragic events that transpired since Nasino was detained in November for illegal possession of firearms.

“We reiterate the motion filed by Reina Mae’s counsels in court to seek her release, even if only temporary,” the group said.

“As a detainee who remains to be presumed innocent under the Constitution, Reina Mae is not a flight risk. Neither does she have any intention of fleeing. Free her. This is the least that the courts and this government can do for her and her child,” it added.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) suggested that there were flaws in the country’s justice system given how the mother and child were treated.

“We have not only lost our hearts, we have lost our souls if we do not feel the pain and the rage. We will lose our humanity if we see more Baby Rivers again. Justice,” NUPL President Edre Olalia said in their statement.

Nasino gave birth to River at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital on July 1. A court in August ordered them to be separated. — DVM, GMA News