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BJMP: Andrea Rosal given best care

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) refuted accusations that political prisoner Andrea Rosal was not treated well under their watch.

“She underwent physical, medical, and pre-natal examination and was in fact visited 4 times by the BJMP medical doctor prior to her delivery,” BJMP spokesperson Roy Valenzuela said in a statement. He added that 3 BJMP nurses monitored Rosal’s condition when she was in labor.

Rosal, the eldest daughter of the late NPA spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal, was 7 months pregnant when she was detained at BJMP on April 3 on kidnapping, murder, and attempted homicide charges.

Rosal’s newborn child died of “persistent pulmonary hypertension” on May 18, two days after she was born.

A court denied Rosal's plea to attend the burial of her daughter on Thursday, May 22, in Ibaan, Batangas. Instead she was allowed a 3-hour visit at her wake on Wednesday, at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) cathedral in Manila.

My baby was not spared

At the wake, Rosal weeped, reiterating she would have wanted to spend more time with her daughter before she is laid to rest. (READ: Andrea Rosal: Why can't I bury my daughter?)

"Hindi ba sila magulang? Hindi naming kasalanang mag-ina na maging kamag-anak ng isang Ka Roger...Pati ba naman sanggol idinamay nila," Rosal lamented. (Are they not parents? It's not my fault nor my daughter's that Ka Roger was our relative. Even my baby was not spared.)

She also talked about her condition in jail. “Hindi talaga maganda ang kalagayan sa loob ng selda sa BJMP (The condition inside the BJMP cell is really bad)," Rosal told reporters.

Rosal said she slept on the floor in the middle of a hot, crowded jail – a 5x10 meter cell occupied by 32 inmates.

Wala namang gamit ang BJMP para tugunan ang pangangailangan ng katulad kong isang buntis (BJMP does not have the facility for pregnant women like me),” Rosal added.

No obstetrician, no room

Valenzuela clarified it was the court that rejected BJMP’s recommendation to bring Rosal to the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of Taguig-Pateros District Hospital for a pre-natal visit.

But BJMP admitted it did not find an available obstetrician from the hospital who would have visited Rosal in jail for her pre-natal check-up as ordered by the court.

“Efforts were exerted by the jail authorities to tap the services of an ob-gyne from the hospital but to no avail,” Valenzuela said.

Valenzuela also confirmed Karapatan’s accusation that Rosal was made to go back and forth from BJMP to the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) a day before she gave birth. (READ: Gov't blamed for death of detained mother's baby)

But he noted it was the attending doctor who discharged Rosal after undergoing internal examination, ultrasound, non-stress test and 4 hours of monitoring.

“She (was) not yet due for delivery and no rooms (were) available in PGH due to congestion,” Valenzuela said.

Probe BJMP

Senator Nancy Binay joined human rights groups and fellow legislators who denounced the alleged ill-treatment of Rosal, announcing that she will call for a review of the BJMP’s policies on women detainees. (READ: Pia Cayetano laments Rosal condition vs 'VIP' Napoles)

“We must review whether the existing policies and protocols of the BJMP regarding women detainees, especially their access to medical care and facilities, are still relevant with the times,” she said.

Binay also criticized the Aquino government's alleged “unequal and lopsided treatment” of political prisoners including Rosal.

“This is clearly in contrast to the VIP treatment some prisoners and influential detainees receive from the government, who provide security escorts and allow the prisoner to seek outside medical care,” Binay said.