Release Reina Mae ‘Ina’ Asis Nasino
Release Reina Mae ‘Ina’ Asis Nasino
8-month pregnant Manila youth leader
Reina Mae “Ina” Asis Nasino is Manila youth leader, Tondo community organizer, and eight-month pregnant detainee at Manila City Jail. She is an activist facing trumped-up cases whose continuing detention reflects the worsening human rights situation under the government of Rodrigo Duterte.
Reina Mae “Ina” Asis Nasino is a former student leader in Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), a public college in Sta. Mesa, Manila where she was taking up a vocational course under the Special Opportunity Program.
She led the formation of Musicians for Peace EARIST Chapter that aims to unite musicians, music enthusiasts, and music-oriented organizations for a just and lasting peace based on social justice. She became part of its Executive Committee in 2014. Later on, she also became a member of Anakbayan EARIST that campaigned for the call to rebuild the Juan C. Laya Gymnasium in the campus. The #RebuildTheGymNow campaign staged protests and mass actions to oppose the looming privatization of the gymnasium, the reconstruction of which the school administration used as justification to illegally collect millions of pesos from students through the Development Fee and the Construction of New Building and Facilities Fee. Anakbayan EARIST also launched campaigns against the illegal collection of redundant and questionable school fees, which is part of its program to uphold a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented quality of education.
Reina Mae witnessed the miserable status of marginalized Filipinos when she lived among the urban poor communities in Manila. She grew up in a poor community in Pandacan together with her two siblings and her mother who is working as a Barangay Police Officer in their area, and has been one of the youth leaders who chose to live in other poor communities in Manila like Baseco and Tondo. This has led her to dedicate all her time in defending and upholding basic human rights through local mass struggles and campaigns.
She became part of the Manila Urban Poor Network (MUPN), a broad network calling for collective response to protect the rights and welfare of the poor in Manila. She stayed with the residents of Smokey Mountain in Tondo. She joined the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Manila and helped form the Neighborhood Association in Upper Smokey Mountain to strengthen the campaign for the economic demands of the residents such as potable water supply and electricity connection. She engaged with various nongovernment organizations to help provide support and services like medical missions and livelihood programs for the community in Smokey Mountain.
On November 5, 2019, Reina Mae was illegally arrested together with Ram Carlo Bautista and Alma Moran at the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Manila Office in Gagalangin, Tondo. Ram is the Popular Struggle Committee Director of BAYAN Manila and the Lead Convener of MUPN while Alma is a Secretariat member of the Manila Workers Unity. Firearms and explosives were planted during the raid at the BAYAN Manila Office and perjury cases were filed by state forces against the three. They were detained for a month at the Manila Police District (MPD) Headquarters in Ermita under the custody of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG). They were transferred to the CIDG Headquarters at Camp Crame in December 2019.
It was in Camp Crame where Reina Mae learned that she was already 1-month pregnant from her relationship with her partner.
She and Alma Moran were transferred to the female dormitory in Manila City Jail in January 2020. They are faced with the miserable conditions inside the congested jails. Hundred inmates jammed each dorm that only holds fifty people. Water supply is also scarce.
Ina’s pregnancy exposes her further to a very fragile state amid the uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 in the entire Manila City Jail compound. There are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the female dorm. In April, Reina Mae fell ill with fever. She is having recurrent bouts of depression because she is afraid for her health and that of her unborn child.
As of June 2020, more than seven months since they were illegally arrested and detained, the three activists are still not arraigned. There are ongoing hearings regarding the motions filed by their legal counsel to quash the search warrants and to suppress the planted evidences. Their lawyer is filing a motion for Reina Mae’s prenatal checkup because she is expecting to give birth in July 2020.
Ina’s mother joined other relatives of political prisoners on April 8, 2020 in filing a petition at the Supreme Court for the urgent release of inmates who are elderly, sick, and pregnant for humanitarian reasons.