An advocacy group for political detainees said Friday that the Philippine National Police (PNP) “hijacked” the funeral procession of jailed activist Reina Mae Nasino’s 3-month-old daughter, Baby River.
Kapatid bared that at least 20 police officers were deployed to the La Funeraria Rey in Pandacan, Manila, where the infant’s remains stayed for viewing.
A few hours later, cops took the remains straight to the cemetery. Originally, they had planned to pass in front of the Supreme Court before heading to Manila North Cemetery.
“Where have you seen police taking control of a funeral? This is a day to bury a child whom the state deprived of a chance (to live). This is a burial. It should be the family whose wishes are followed,” the group said, stressing that “the police have no right to dictate how this is done and even less right to take the remains of a baby we are mourning.”
Kapatid also revealed that they and the family had wanted to start the procession at 11:30 AM, but police insisted that it start at 1:00 PM, the time that Nasino’s three-hour furlough from the Manila City Jail would start. The police relented after Nasino’s mother Marites Asis begged them on her knees to let the family bring the coffin down from the viewing room at La Funeraria Rey.
“When the coffin was brought outside, and the family walked behind it, [with us] supporters, the funeral car suddenly sped up, leaving us all behind. But we couldn’t catch up. We were separated,” the group added.
At the Manila North Cemetery, where Baby River will be buried in the afternoon, more than 20 cops were also gathered at the gates. Kapatid said that these police officers are different from the cops who joined the funeral march.
Earlier this week, Kapatid said that around 20 cops were guarding outside the funeral home during Baby River’s wake. They also barred the group’s spokesperson Fides Lim from entering and prohibited supporters from displaying their placards that call for justice for Nasino and her infant.