Woman admits she’s mom of ‘Gulf Air baby’

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 16 2010 05:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 17 2010 09:05 AM

 MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A woman in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) admitted on Thursday that she is the mother of a newborn baby abandoned in a Gulf Air plane last Sunday.

"Tessa," whose real name has been withheld, is reportedly sorry for leaving her baby.

NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula said the woman wants to see her baby.

“May feeling of guilt,” he added. “Shocked siya, confused.”

Medical tests showed that Tessa gave birth just recently.

Tessa claimed that she was set to give birth when she boarded the aircraft.

She said she used an abdominal binder to hide her pregnancy.

She told the NBI that she lost consciousness inside the aircraft, and only later realized that the airplane was already set to land at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

She left the baby, later named George Francis by caregivers, in a trash bin of a lavatory located at the back of Gulf Air flight 154.

A cleaner told investigators it was difficult to clean her seat 40-D since it had so much blood, an indication that the woman returned to her seat after giving birth in the comfort room.

Gatdula said Tessa is still pale and weak and cries most of the time.

He added that the NBI and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are still studying her request to see the baby.

“Pinakita iyung picture, kaya right now, gustong-gusto niya. She is very eager to see the baby,” Gatdula said.

The DSWD wants the woman to undergo psychological counselling, he said. The woman and the baby will also undergo DNA tests to confirm that she is indeed the mother.

The DSWD said it will take one month before the results of the DNA come out.

The NBI will also check whether the woman was sexually abused while working abroad.

Cavite's 2nd District Rep. Lani Mercado visited Tessa on Thursday at the NBI and asked the public not to condemn her. (Click here for related article.)

She said some women undergo “post-partum depression,” which makes them commit irrational acts.

The NBI is also looking at the possibility that the woman is a victim of human trafficking. It will probe the woman's recruiter and employer.

Confessed to sister

After she was taken into custody by the NBI on Wednesday, Tessa reportedly called and confessed to her sister in Apayao province that she is the mother of the abandoned baby.

Her mother cried after she was told about the incident.

"She admitted to her sister that the baby is hers. I want to ask her why she did it," Tessa's mother said.

The woman’s family, including her husband, did not expect that she would be coming home this year from Qatar, where she has worked as a domestic helper in the last 4 years.

Her family was happy she came back for a vacation, but their joy turned to sadness after she was taken into custody by authorities on Wednesday.  

Tessa's husband was hurt when he was told about the real reason behind her arrest. 

"I was not around when the NBI came, and her family told me that they brought my wife to a hospital," the man said.

The couple have 2 children.

"I don't know if the baby is Filipino. Of course, her husband is not willing to accept that the baby is his because my sister left in July last year and became pregnant only in January," Tessa's sister said.

Her mother, meanwhile, urged the NBI and the DSWD to give the baby to them.

The woman’s husband and sister will be going to Manila to help her.

“Please forgive her for what she did. We will take care of her and her baby if her husband won't accept them," her mother said.

Blood-stained seat recovered

Meantime, after five days of negotiations, airport authorities finally convinced Gulf Air to hand over the blood-stained seat that Tessa occupied on board the Airbus 332 aircraft.

NAIA sources said NBI agents waited for the arrival of the GF [Gulf Air] 154 airplane from Bahrain on Thusday.

The airline company earlier prevented NAIA officials and police from going inside the aircraft to investigate.
 
The NBI wanted to get DNA and blood samples from the seat.

NBI agents posted at the NAIA Terminal 1 did not issue a statement and prevented the media from taking pictures of the seat.  - Maan Macapagal and Julius Camba, ABS-CBN News