Group asks Supreme Court to be ‘ac­tive, hu­mane’ amid health cri­sis

Business World - - The Nation -

A SUP­PORT group of fam­ily mem­bers of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers asked the Supreme Court to ap­prove a le­gal rem­edy for re­lease to “save lives of pris­on­ers.” Fides Lim, spokesper­son of sup­port group Ka­p­atid, asked the court to ap­prove the rem­edy known as Writ of Kalayaan that was pro­vided when it de­lib­er­ated on the pe­ti­tion of 22 po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers ask­ing to be re­leased on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds due to the on­go­ing health cri­sis. “The Per­alta Court pro­vided a rem­edy with the Writ of Kalayaan to save lives of pris­on­ers. Ap­prove it,” she said in a state­ment on Thurs­day. “Don’t be a pas­sive court, be an ac­tive, hu­mane court. This is an is­sue not only about po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers but all pris­on­ers who are el­derly, very sick, preg­nant, nurs­ing mothers. We ask you to re­lease more pris­on­ers,” she added. As­so­ciate Jus­tice Mar­vic M.V.F. Leo­nen, in his opin­ion on the case, sug­gested the mea­sure of Writ of Kalayaan, which will serve as a con­tin­u­ing man­damus to ad­dress jail con­ges­tion. She said they will pur­sue the rem­edy. The po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers filed in April the pe­ti­tion seek­ing for their re­lease. How­ever, the high court in July re­ferred the case to the re­spec­tive trial courts where their cases are pend­ing as they treated the law­suit as an ap­pli­ca­tion for bail or re­cog­ni­zance. “That ju­di­cial in­ter­ven­tion we hoped for never hap­pened,” Ms. Lim said. De­spite this, she said that they are glad that through the pe­ti­tion, they were “able to put the sub­hu­man con­di­tion of Filipino pris­on­ers on the front burner,” not­ing that the gov­ern­ment was pressed to take ur­gent health­care mea­sures in de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties. “We are glad to have com­pelled ju­di­cial and ex­ec­u­tive agen­cies to open the prison doors for a claimed num­ber of 33,000 PDLs (per­sons de­prived of lib­erty) although there is not a shadow of a po­lit­i­cal prisoner in th­ese re­leases,” she said. She also asked the court to “grant re­lief” to de­tained ac­tivist Reina Mae Nasino “to cor­rect the in­jus­tice done to her from the time she was falsely ar­rested with planted firearms to the time she was sep­a­rated from her baby and her baby died.” Ms. Nasino was among the 22 po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers who filed the pe­ti­tion in April. She was ini­tially al­lowed by a Manila trial court to at­tend her daugh­ter’s wake and fu­neral from Oct. 14-16, but it was re­duced to just six hours di­vided in two days af­ter the jail war­den op­posed the three- day fur­lough, cit­ing lack of per­son­nel to ac­com­pany her. — Vann Marlo M. Vil­le­gas

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