Press Release
June 1, 2014

In light of a political prisoner's baby's death
Nancy seeks inquiry into health of pregnant inmates

Senator Nancy Binay filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate the health care needs of detained pregnant women, in light of the recent death of the newborn child of political prisoner Andrea Rosal.

"There is a need to inquire on the health care needs of pregnant inmates," she said in filing Senate Resolution 672. "There is also a need to review existing standards for pregnancy-related health care in order to meet the special needs of pregnant women in jails," Binay added.

She said the Constitution "recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception."

Andrea Rosal, the daughter of the late New People's Army (NPA) spokesperson Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal, was seven months' pregnant when she was arrested with a male companion last March in Caloocan City.

Rosal's newborn baby died two days after being born due to pulmonary hypertension.

According to the healthcare group Health Alliance for Democracy, Rosal was not able to undergo pre-natal check-up and was not in good condition while in prison.

It added that Rosal was not able to undergo the required laboratory and examinations for pregnant women due to the slow process of requesting for court orders.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, however, said that the government had extended help to both the mother and child through hospital arrest in the PGH and provided them the best hospital care available.

Human rights group Karapatan, meanwhile, said that Rosal went through uterine contractions during detention and was brought back and forth from Camp Bagong Diwa and the Philippine General Hospital because the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology authorities said there were no available rooms for her.

Binay had earlier pointed out the government's "unequal and lopsided treatment" afforded to political prisoners, especially to pregnant women like in the case of Rosal.

"This is clearly in contrast to the VIP treatment some prisoners and influential detainees receive from the government, who provide security escorts and allow the prisoner to seek outside medical care," she said in an earlier statement.

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