MANILA, Philippines - Poverty drove a 40-year-old scavenger to throw her two kids into the Pasig River, and then try to take her own life last Tuesday.
Police said Mimi Abila, 40, threw her 8-year-old daughter Jovelyn near the Del Pan Bridge in Tondo before jumping off the same bridge with her 5-year-old daughter, Jocelyn.
Chief Inspector Erwin Margarejo, head of the Manila Police District homicide division, said two witnesses, Narciso Moreno and Emily Gaviola, saw the mother as she threw herself and her two kids into the murky river.
Rescuers saved the elder Abila but failed to rescue her five-year-old daughter. Her sister's body remains missing.
Margarejo said Abila blamed grinding poverty for driving her to kill her two kids as well as take her own life. He said Abila will face parricide charges for her acts.
"Initially, when I interviewed the suspect, she said her life was too hard. She and her husband were both scavengers who lived under the bridge in Del Pan. She said her husband, Alexander, didn't give her the money he earned from scavenging but used it to buy liquor for himself," the police official told radio dzMM.
He added: "The suspect said she felt sorry that her kids had nothing to eat, which triggered her to do it."
Margarejo said he will leave it to a doctor to determine Abila's mental condition.
Hunger in the Philippines reached a new record high last December, according to the 4th Quarter survey of Social Weather Stations (SWS).
The December 5-10 survey showed that hunger incidence rose to 24% or an estimated 4.4 million households. It said an estimated 870,00 families said they experienced hunger often while 19.3% or 3.6 million families said they experienced hunger once or a few times in the last three months. With a report from Edwin Sevidal, radio dzMM