No place in government
This is the lesson we hope that Celine Pialago, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), has come to realize, after she drew deserved criticism for callous remarks she posted on her Facebook page about detained activist Reina Mae Nasino, who lost her 3-month-old daughter, River, after prison authorities separated the sickly infant from her mother. The post, which has since been deleted, was written in Filipino, and translates roughly to this: “Happy Sunday everyone! This has nothing to do with traffic, but the way I see it, I need to use my voice as a Filipino on this issue. “Not all mothers who are in jail can go to their child’s funeral. So to all the sympathizers of Reina Mae Nasino, learn why she has been detained and understand who she is in society. “You’re turning her grief into an afternoon drama series. Stop it!” The remarks seemed particularly callous, given that the Manila court that originally granted her a three-day furlough for the wake and burial had cut it down to just six hours spread over two days, on the basis of a claim by the Manila City Jail Female Dormitory that it had inadequate manpower to guard Nasino, who was apparently watched by dozens of law enforcement personnel during her furlough. Pialago said it must have been one of the 70—she later on said seven, after she was flooded with questions about her army of social media operators—administrators of her social media account who took the post down, but that she was standing by what she said about how Nasino deserved tight security. She did “clarify” that she was attacking the people who were riding and capitalizing on the issue to manipulate others, not the grieving mother.