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[PODCAST] Law of Duterte Land: Philippine courts and the death of baby River

On a shortened court furlough, 23-year-old activist Reina Mae Nasino would have 6 hours split between two days to say goodbye to her 3-month-old daughter River, who died due to pneumonia complications on October 9.

Reina Mae carried River in her womb while detained at the Manila City Jail. Born underweight on July 1, River had a month with her mother in jail before the court separated them.

Reina Mae's lawyers slugged it out both at the Supreme Court and the lower court to have the activist spend at least a year with her newborn.

The lower court denied their pleas. The Supreme Court came out with a decision after 5 months that simply remanded the petition to the lower courts handling specific charges.

Without specifying the relief, Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Lazaro Javier wrote in a separate opinion, "I believe we have a role to play in protecting the baby from adverse consequences that are not of the baby's own doing."

"It’s too late. It’s too little too late. Alam mo 'yung huli na ang lahat eh. Wala nang magagawa 'yung mga ganito kagandang mga salita sa mag-ina, hindi na maibabalik yung buhay ni Baby River (You know, it's too late. Nice words can't do anything for the mother and child, it cannot bring back Baby River)," said Josa Deinla of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), one of Reina Mae's lawyers.

This tragic story started on November 5, 2019, when Reina Mae – still oblivious to her pregnancy at the time – was roused from her sleep by cops who raided her office and arrested her and two other activists.

Listen to this podcast for a deeper discussion.

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If you have tips and suggestions for episodes, email the host at lian.buan@rappler.com.  – Rappler.com