Abandoned baby’s mother said she was raped

A PHILIPPINE woman who admitted giving birth to a baby on a flight from the Middle East and then leaving him in the rubbish on the plane said she was raped by her employer, a lawmaker said yesterday.

The baby was found by a security guard at Manila’s airport last Sunday in a rubbish bag unloaded from a Gulf Air flight from Bahrain. The rubbish apparently came from the plane’s bathroom.

Representative Lani Mercado said she met the woman, who told her that she had been raped by employer while working as a maid in Qatar and became pregnant.

She said her employer’s wife then forced her to return home, and she managed to hide her pregnancy and board a flight.

“She had labour pains in the plane,” Mercado said. “Then she gave birth.”

Mercado said the woman told her she abandoned the baby because she was afraid of what her family would say.

Mercado, who serves on legislative committees on children and women, said she met the woman at Manila’s National Bureau of Investigation headquarters to try to help her.

The woman gave birth while the plane was approaching Manila, according to the bureau’s chief, Magtanggol Gatdula. The woman has been shown a picture of the child, and “she’s very eager to see her baby,” he said.

The woman left in June last year to work in Qatar for three years, and her family was surprised when she suddenly returned home, said police inspector Jeffrey Vicente, quoting her husband in northern Apayao province with whom she has two children.

The baby, weighing six pounds, nine ounces and still attached to the placenta, was found wrapped in tissue paper. Officials said the baby may have died within a few minutes had he not been found.

The baby, temporarily named George Francis after Gulf Air’s flight code GF, is now fine but underwent an X-ray because of two bumps on his head. The results have not yet been released.

The 30-year-old woman was located on Wednesday in Apayao after investigators set out to find the person who sat in a bloodstained seat on the plane.

Authorities brought her to Manila for questioning. They did not release her name.

Social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman cautioned that authorities are still working to confirm the woman is the mother.


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