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Lawyer corrects lobbyist—yet faces heat and backlash for correcting the lobbyist

In it, she says people should do research on last week’s latest hot topic: the denial of a proper burial to Baby River, the 3-month-old daughter of activist Reina Mae Nasino.

People often say knowledge is power.

However, in Asian countries—specifically the Philippines—being more knowledgeable ALWAYS takes a backseat to being older; ergo, you might know more than me but I am older so my opinion matters more than yours.

Case in point: this Twitter exchange between a young lawyer and a career political lobbyist.

This exchange from Atty. Gideon Peña, Head of Legal for Insular Health Care, and Malou Tiquia, founder of lobbying and political campaign management company PUBLiCUS Asia, Inc., just gave a whole new meaning to the term “age before beauty”—or in this case, age before knowledge.

It all started with this tweet from Tiquia—who was also at the helm of one of CNN Philippines’ pilot programs, Agenda.

In it, she says people should do research on last week’s latest hot topic: the denial of a proper burial to Baby River, the 3-month-old daughter of activist Reina Mae Nasino.

According to Tiquia, the story went like this: Nasino was charged for a crime, hence why she in jail. She did not explain the obscene number of BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) and PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel at the burial—even if the case hasn’t had any significant developments much less a verdict.

She also said Nasino’s mother, Maritess Asis, was the one taking care of Baby River, hence people should not complain that Manila RTC (Regional Trial Court) Branch 20 did not grant the mother’s petition for furlough—something which could have allowed Baby River to live longer and maybe not have to succumb to Tiquia’s third and only valid point.

She said acute gastroenteritis was the reason for Baby River’s death—accurate, as this was what was written in her death certificate, and the actual cause of her death.

It should be noted, however, that Nasino was called in by her baby’s doctor from the Philippine General Hospital because Baby River was suffering from a bacterial infection in her lungs.

Tiquia also said Mayor Isko Moreno’s silence does not mean he wasn’t doing anything—though technically, Moreno has no say in the matter since he does not have jurisdiction over Manila’s courts.

Lastly, she asked who caused the commotion on the way to the cemetery—something which was clear as day based on all the reports, which included videos. Officers from the Manila Police District’s (MPD) Pandacan station, led by MPD chief Police Brig. Gen. Rolando Rolando Miranda, were clearly the ones who caused the commotion—not the Nasinos.

Though others would argue the other 3 points, with some tackling all 5 in one go…

Atty. Peña would hone in on Tiquia’s first point, something which a lot of President Rodrigo Duterte’s supporters and appointees often point out.

Peña said Tiquia should know the difference between a detainee and a prisoner. For context, he basically defined a detainee in local law terms as someone who is under preventive imprisonment and is undergoing a trial.

A prisoner, on the other hand, is someone who has been charged with a crime and should be held in a proper detention facility—in Nasino’s case, the Corrections Institute for Women in Mandaluyong.

However, as a lot of people pointed out to Tiquia, Nasino has not been charged yet for the illegal possession case she and two of her Bayan Muna colleagues are facing at Manila RTC Branch 47.

Tiquia, however, would say that she “corrected” her post, though she then blasted Peña for “acting like a typical lawyer”. She also told Peña to “tell that to all and not just me because I do research and I do correct.”

The issue of Nasino’s bailable vs non-bailable offense was also raised after Tiquia quipped that Peña did not include the subject in his original retort.

To which, Peña happily replied that a non-bailable charge does not remove the presumption of one’s innocence—something that is ingrained in Philippine laws. He also raised how Tiquia was using the non-bailable nature of Nasino’s case to justify her treatment at the hands of both the BJMP and the PNP.

At this point, Tiquia had had enough of a lawyer teaching her what lawyers actually know—the law.

Netizens would, however, point out how Tiquia owns a research firm yet does not really know when to research—in this case, it should have been done before the post.

To date, Nasino’s case is still in the hands of Manila RTC Branch 47–with no movement in sight because of the pandemic. According to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, Nasino’s case “is now before the court and the judicial process has to move on.”

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