Human rights activists on Wednesday condemned the alleged warrantless arrest of a woman activist and her “hasty” incarceration in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City despite a medical condition they said could lead to involuntary abortion.
MANILA, Philippines — Human rights activists on Wednesday condemned the alleged warrantless arrest of a woman activist and her “hasty” incarceration in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City despite a medical condition they said could lead to involuntary abortion.
Karapatan, in a statement, said Maria Miradel Torres, a member of the women’s organization Gabriela in Mauban, Quezon was in Lucena City to seek medical assistance “because of profuse bleeding” when she was arrested in the house she was staying in Barangay Ilayang Iyam by operatives of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Southern Luzon Command who insisted she was the “Alex” and “Syndney” they were looking for.
Torres was then taken to the Camp General Nakar Station Hospital where Karapatan said relatives “found her there two days after her arrest.”
However, when Torres’ mother and relatives sought to visit her on June 23, they were barred from doing so, the rights group said.
At dawn on Wednesday, said Karapatan chair Marie Hilao-Enriquez, “despite threatened abortion, the military hastily transferred her from Camp Nakar in Quezon to the female dorm in Camp Bagong Diwa.”
“We have yet to see the Court’s Commitment Order on this transfer,” Hilao said.
Camp Bagong Diwa is also where Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late Communist Party of the Philippines spokesman Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, is being held.
Rosal was seven months pregnant when she was arrested in Caloocan City. Despite this, she was taken to Bagong Diwa where Rosal said she was kept in a crowded cell where she had to sleep on the floor.
Rosal gave birth on May 17 but her daughter, Diona Andrea, died late in the afternoon of May 18. Karapatan and Rosal’s lawyers claim she was “forcibly” returned to jail early this month although she was still undergoing treatment at the Philippine General Hospital.
“We see a repeat of Andrea Rosal in this case, thus we demand the immediate release of Maria Miradel Torres,” Enriquez said.
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto also slammed the arrest and detention of Torres and said barring her relatives to visit her violated Republic Act 7438, which lays down the rights of arrested and detained persons.
Section 2 of the law states:” Any person arrested or detained or under custodial investigation shall be allowed visits by or conferences with any member of his immediate family, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel, or by any national non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Commission on Human Rights of by any international non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Office of the President.
“Torres needs immediate medical attention especially because her pregnancy falls within the critical period. Torres must be immediately brought to a hospital for pre-natal care and not in a congested detention cell where she is prone to acquire communicable diseases. Jailing her makes her prone to abortion. We will not allow another episode of Andrea Rosal’s tragedy,” SELDA national coordinator Roneo Clamor said.
He also challenged the Office of the Ombudsman and the Commission on Human Rights “to immediately investigate and file appropriate charges against those who illegally arrested Maria Miradel Torres.”