Another baby dies while separated from detainee mother in Negros Oriental

Just 4 months after the death of baby River, the infant who was separated from her detained mother, another newborn passed away under similar circumstances.

Baby Carlen, the child of detainee Nona Espinosa, died on February 14.

Three days after giving birth, Nona and Baby Carlen were separated. Law enforcers took the mother back to the Guihulngan City Police Office jail in Negros Oriental, while the newborn was left to the care of the Espinosa family.

A medical report released to the media by the support group Kapatid said the infant died due to "an infection in the lungs and blood after being hospitalized for a few days because of low hemoglobin count."

Kapatid is a non-government organization which helps friends and family of detained political prisoners in the country.

According to a report by local daily SunStar, the pregnant Espinosa and her partner Adidas Acero were arrested on September 20 during a joint law enforcement operation by the police and the Philippine Army in Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental. Authorities accused Espinosa and Acero of being high-ranking officials of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines.

Espinosa gave birth at the Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in the first week of January. Baby Carlen was born with a cleft palate and had breathing problems.

The Kapatid statement said the mother received minimal prenatal care before her birth.

It was not clear if Espinosa sought legal means to regain the custody of her child.

Rappler tried to reach the Police Regional Office-Central Visayas but has not received a reply as of posting.

The last update of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology- Central Visayas on the situation of the mother and child mentioned Espinosa's return to jail 3 days after giving birth.

Kapatid has called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to probe the death of Baby Carlen for possible violations of the Bangkok Rules, a set of rules established by the United Nations for the treatment of women prisoners.

“Cases of infants who died after being taken away from their mothers are of serious concern. If this happened to the infants of Nona Espinosa and Reina Mae Nasino, what about other prisoners who also lost their newborn after being separated from them?

"The plight of baby Carlen and baby River remind the government of its obligation to prioritize the protection of the innocent. .. release their mothers to take proper care of them since there are other custodial and judicial measures to enforce their appearance in court,” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim said in the statement.

CHR- Central Visayas regional director Arvin Ordon said he has not received a complaint on the case of Baby Carlen.

On October 9, 3-month-old Baby River, child of jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino, died of pneumonia while separated from her mother.

Before her death, the National Union of People's Lawyers pleaded for the court to allow Nasino more time with Baby River, or to allow the mother to care for her baby inside the jail. Both pleas were not granted. –