Non-profit organization Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns today called out Metropolitan Manila Development Authority official Celine Pialago for her “insensitive and callous remark” regarding baby River Nasino and her mother, detained activist Reina Mae Nasino.
The organization said that it denounces Pialago for calling out those who sympathize with Reina and her late daughter. Salinlahi also demanded that the government official remove her controversial statement about Reina and River from her Facebook account and desist from making remarks “that would add insult to the injury” of the Nasinos.
“The statement of Ms. Pialogo demonstrates the systematic and continuing effort of the Duterte administration in inflicting further pain and suffering to Reina and to those who mourn over the death of Baby River. Aside from the fact that it’s not within the scope of her mandate, such remark lacks respect and shows the unbecoming of a public official,” Salinlahi said.
Pialago became the center of controversy over the weekend when she said that those who sympathize with Reina should “study the real reason why she was imprisoned and know what her real role is in society.” She also said that supporters were overly romanticizing the activist’s problems and that they were making a “drama series” out of Reina’s life.
Three-month-old River was laid to rest on Friday in Manila under the watchful eye of countless police officers, whom critics have accused of “hijacking” the event. Filipinos were incensed when the hearse carrying the infant sped away towards the cemetery, leaving members of the Nasino family at the funeral home. Reina’s police escorts also refused to remove her handcuffs and she was unable to hold her daughter’s coffin before it was buried.
Reina, along with two other activists, was arrested in November 2019 in Tondo for allegedly possessing illegal firearms and explosives. Citing her pregnancy, she filed a petition before the Supreme Court early this year to request for her early release. However, the high court declined to decide on her petition and referred her request to the regional trial court.
The activist gave birth to River in July, but the Manila Trial Court rejected Reina’s request to care for her child at the hospital or the prison nursery. The court ordered them to be separated a month later despite Reina’s insistence that the baby had to be breastfed. River was hospitalized in September and died of pneumonia early this month.
This article, In Bad Taste? Pialago called ‘insensitive and callous’ for downplaying baby River’s death, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.