Suspected Filipino mom of newborn baby abandoned in airplane trash questioned

By Jim Gomez, AP
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Suspected Filipino mom of mystery plane baby found

MANILA, Philippines — Investigators Thursday questioned the suspected Philippine mother of a baby found alive in the trash of a Bahrain-to-Manila flight, after tracing the passenger assigned to a bloodstained seat on the plane.

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said authorities planned DNA tests on the baby, who apparently was born during the weekend flight, and the 30-year-old woman, who was tracked down Wednesday in a remote northern province.

Authorities brought her to Manila for questioning and testing, which may not yield results until next week. They did not release her name.

“We want to be very sure that we won’t ascribe this act to the wrong person,” Soliman told The Associated Press.

The baby’s fate drew worldwide attention after he was discovered Sunday when a security officer on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s tarmac spied something moving in a trash bag that was unloaded from the Gulf Air flight and believed to have come from one of plane’s toilets.

He found the six pound, nine ounce (three-kilogram) newborn — still attached to placenta — wrapped in tissue paper. Airport officials said the baby, already bluish in color, 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 has undergone an X-ray due to two bumps on his head, welfare officer Thelsa Biolena said.

About 20 couples, including some from abroad, have offered to adopt the boy, she said.

The suspected mother was traced to the northern province of Apayao from a name on the flight manifest for a bloodstained seat near a toilet on the flight.

Apayao police chief Nestor Bergonia said the woman had apparently just arrived from abroad and has a Filipino husband. The woman, who was provided a government lawyer, refused to talk when authorities began to question her late Wednesday.

The mother could face criminal charges for abandoning her child, Soliman said.

Local media have speculated that the mother could be one of the many Filipino women who work as maids in the Middle East. About one in 10 Filipinos works abroad, many as domestic workers and laborers in the Middle East, to escape crushing poverty and unemployment at home.

Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano contributed to this report.

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