activist groups in PH

Reina Mae Nasino, others walk free from jail after posting bail

Jairo Bolledo
Reina Mae Nasino, others walk free from jail after posting bail

RELEASED. Activist Reina Mae Nasino and two others were finally freed on December 22, 2022 after three years under detention.

Kathy Yamzon/ Altermidya

(1st UPDATE) The court has already granted the three's petition for bail as early as December 12, citing the prosecution’s failure to prove that evidence of guilt is strong

MANILA, Philippines — After more than three years under detention, Reina Mae Nasino and two other activists gained provisional freedom following the issuance on Thursday, December 22, of their release order by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47.

Nasino and her companions’ camp posted bail amounting to P282,000 for their temporary release.

“This afternoon today, December 22, Thursday, the premium of the bail bond for the release of Reina Mae Nasino, Alma Moran and Ram Carlo Bautista will be paid by the Karapatan-Kapatid human rights network with the surety firm,” rights group Kapatid said in a statement on Thursday, December 22.

However, as of Thursday, 5:30 pm, Nasino and companions have yet walk out of jail because they were still undergoing procedures of their release. They finished the medical check-up between 4 to 5 pm.

Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim told reporters that the activists will undergo another check up at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

A pregnant Nasino and her companions were arrested during a search inside the office of progressive group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) on November 5, 2019. They were charged with possession of illegal firearms and explosives, but they said the arresting police planted the evidence.

Kapatid said the court order for Nasino, Ram Carlo Bautista, and Alma Moran’s release on bail and recognizance should be implemented immediately since the bail has been paid.

Lawyer Julliane Agpalo, among the legal counsels working on Nasino’s case, told Rappler that the court has yet to act on their motion to reduce bail. Instead, they posted the bail as surety bond. The same information was given by Lim.

According to Agpalo and Lim, they had paid a total of P282,000 as surety bond. The amount is 20% of the total bail amount for the three activists, which was set at P1,410,000.

Under the rules on bail, a person under custody or detention can post a bail using different types of bonds, including the surety bond. Under the surety bond, a person can pay a percentage of the total value of the bail amount.

However, the bail posted as surety bond is nonrefundable, unlike in cash bond, where you can get back your money once the case is over.

On December 12, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 granted the three’s petition for bail, citing the prosecution’s failure to prove that evidence of guilt is strong.

Two days later, Kapatid, along with their legal counsels, filed a joint motion asking the court to reduce the bail to half for each of the activist: From P420,000 each for Nasino and Moran to P210,000, and from P570,000 for Bautista to P285,000. Nasino’s camp argued in their motion that the three are full-time human rights workers and “earning only what was necessary for daily sustenance.”

Nasino had a tragic life inside prison. She gave birth while in jail to her daughter, Baby River – at the height of the pandemic.

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Her case put pressure on the courts, even to the Supreme Court, to apply humanitarian considerations. But, Baby River died later at three months old. The infant died even before her mother’s petition for a furlough could even go through the motions.

In September this year, the Court of Appeals voided the warrant used against Nasino, citing its failure to meet standards. The appellate court added that all evidence recovered during the search were also inadmissible. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.