The Department of the Interior and Local Government today defended the actions of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in escorting Reina Mae Nasino to the wake of her daughter River saying that their jail officers acted with professionalism, restraint, and integrity.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the BJMP jail officers assigned to escort Nasino acted with professionalism, restraint, and integrity despite the provocation, insults, and harassment they faced from the critical crowd during the wake.
“The BJMP jail officers assigned to escort Nasino were insulted, harassed and verbally abused by Leftist groups aligned with Ms. Nasino. Truth be told, it was the Leftist groups who caused the tension during the wake when they suddenly vented their ire on the BJMP officers who were just doing their jobs,” he said.
He said that the intent of the group in the wake was clearly to provoke the jail officers in order to create a media spectacle, hog the headlines, and portray the BJMP and the government, by extension, as heartless and insensitive to the plight of Nasino.
“What was supposed to be a solemn occasion for a mother to peacefully grieve the death of her daughter was intentionally turned into a media spectacle at the clear instigation of these Leftist groups,” he added.
“We commiserate and condole with Ms. Nasino and respect her right to grieve the death of her daughter. However, we condemn in the strongest terms the acts of these Leftist groups that placed the security of Ms. Nasino and the lives of our jail officers at risk,” he said.
The DILG Chief also clarified that Nasino is not and will never be a so-called political prisoner. “She is not being detained for her political beliefs, opinions, or for opposing the government. We don’t have laws against that. She is detained upon orders of the Regional Trial Court for criminal cases for illegal possession of firearms and explosives. That is a simple and undeniable fact,” he said.
He said that it was the court who set the conditions for her furlough and since media interviews of the accused was not one of the privileges granted, therefore, it is not allowed. “We do not want to be accused of violating the sub judice rule which includes going to the media and talking about pending cases in court,” he added.
He appealed to the Leftist groups not to vent their anger and indignation on the innocent jail officers who were only following the orders of the courts. “It was the courts that denied their pleadings, who decided on the conditions for her furlough, and yet it is the BJMP that they are crucifying. The BJMP is simply obeying the orders of the court otherwise we will be the one who will be cited for contempt,” he said.