Biantan: A mother trying to save daughter from Covid in jail

JOURNALIST Grace Cantal Albasin is dead worried the COVID 19 virus will kill her eldest daughter once she catches it in her home the past two years, the Dumaguete City District Jail in Negros Oriental.

Myles Albasin, the 23-year-old eldest daughter of the former Editor-In-Chief of SunStar Cagayan de Oro City, has been detained since March 3, 2018 awaiting trial after being charged by the military with illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives.

Myles and five other young men were caught in an ‘encounter’ in the mountains of Mabinay, Negros Oriental. According to the military in the reports from the local media, the six were members of the terrorist-communist group, the New People’s Army (NPA) and they were caught after a 45 minute clash with a group of soldiers.

They were arrested with one armalite rifle and and a M202 grenade launcher. The group including Myles Albasin denied the charges and insisted that they were in the mountains of Mabinay to help the farmers.

Myles Albasin was the chairperson of the Anakbayan activist group at UP Cebu during that time. She was 21 and just finished her Mass Communication course at UP Cebu and was supposed to take up law at the Ateneo de Davao by June of 2018.

Grace fears for her daughter are real. The jails in the Philippines are overcrowded and are time bombs of sickness. One time bomb has already exploded with many casualties.

The Cebu City jail in Kalunasan, Cebu city is now reeking with COVID 19 having infected more than 300 inmates and their guards.

An elementary classmate at the Colegio de Sto. Nino in Cebu City who works as a jail guard in the facility is among those infected.

The Cebu City jail is just the tip of the iceberg. Even the women’s correctional in Manila is already infected with more than 20 persons already positive. Many jail houses all over the country could have been infected by COVID 19. We just do not know.

There are no reports yet of infections in the Dumaguete City District jail women’s side but with Myles among the hundreds of prisoners tucked in facility, her mother Grace thinks that her daughter is like in death row just waiting for a single person to infect everyone.

Why is she worried about her daughter? COVID 19 is a treacherous virus which attacks humans particularly the vulnerable, the elderly, asthmatics, diabetics, and many more persons with underlying deceases.

Myles has asthma and allergic Rhinitis. She takes Seretide inhaler for her asthma and Zykast for her Rhinitis. A COVID 19 infection will be lethal for her.

The mainstream media here in the Philippines have not given importance to this issue. I have to dig from the cyberspace on what the government has been doing about this problem.

I managed to read a report from the Saudi Arabian based newspaper, the Arab News where it said last April 30, 2020 that Department of Justice (DoJ) is taking steps to expedite the release of the sick and the elderly inmates following the upsurge of the COVID19 virus infection in the jails, according the Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

Roque said that the Justice secretary himself Menardo Guevara is expediting the release and process of individuals who may qualify for parole to decongest the country’s jail facilities.

This is music of hope to the ears of thousands of sick and elderly prisoners like Myles who are languishing in our jails.

This move by the Justice Secretary Guevara was the result of the appeal to the Supreme Court and the Department of Justice by our very own Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez.

Rodriguez made the appeal after learning that nine inmates at the Quezon City jail were positive of the deadly COVID 19.

It will take time for this to take effect as we know how government bureaucracy works. However, this gives hopes to the thousands of prisoners.

Time is precious and time is what we do not have. Luckily, the Supreme Court of the Philippines knows this.

In an unprecedented move, Chief Justice Disodado M. Peralta just released Circular 38-2020 dated April 30, 2020 informing all justices, judges, prosecutors, public attorneys, and members of the bar, to hasten the release of many detainees during this public health emergency period to help decongest the prisons with the aim to probably cut infections among prisoners.

The Circular 38-2020 officially informs all justices, judges, prosecutors, public attorneys, and members of the bar, the reduced bail and recognisance as modes for releasing indigent persons deprived of liberty during this period of public health emergency, pending resolution of their cases.

I will discuss this Circular 38-2020 in my next column and its impact to the case of Myles Albasin and to the thousands of sick and ageing prisoners which will be protected by this circular from COVID 19 that is causing havoc on the lives of prisoners in our country. God Bless (


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.