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A TV reporter interviews suspected baby snatcher Richard Bernades while Gingoog Mayor Erick Cañosa and his police director Col. Ariel Philip Pontillas look on at city hall on Tuesday. Police arrested Bernades on Monday night shortly after a couple saved and turned over a baby, snatched from a birthing home in Gingoog on Sunday, to authorities. (photo courtesy of the Gingoog City Information Office)

Charges filed against Gingoog baby snatcher

By NITZ ARANCON
and EDWIN IYO
Correspondents .

POLICE yesterday pressed charges against the suspect in Sunday’s snatching of a baby at the Puericulture center in Gingoog City.

Slapped with kidnapping and illegal detention charges before Gingoog’s prosecutor’s office was 20-year-old Richard Bernades Jr. a.k.a. Junjun who was caught Monday night after a couple found and handed over the baby to authorities.

The Gingoog police has dismissed a report (not in this paper) that Bernades surrendered. M/Sgt. Larrylou Villegas, chief of the Gingoog police’s community affairs division, said police arrested Bernades at his home in Purok 2A, Barangay 19 in Gingoog City.

Col.  Ariel Philip Pontillas, Gingoog police director, said Bernades claimed to be a hermaphrodite who wanted to have a baby to call his own.

Behind bars, he insisted on being a hermaphrodite.

Pontillas laughed off the suspect’s hermaphrodite claim but said investigators were convinced that the gay man snatched the baby from her mother Marichu Villegas because he was obsessed with the idea of having his own child.

“Wala gyuy lain niyang rason, gusto lang siya magka-anak,” Pontillas said.

Bernades’s 56-year-old mother Elsily begged for forgiveness for her son, saying that he kidnapped Villegas’s baby “because of love.”

In tears, she said she was unaware of what her son did until after the police arrested him.

The mother said the suspect was in love with a man, and wanted to make it appear that he had given birth.

Mrs. Bernades claimed that the suspect managed to convince himself that she was a woman.

She confirmed that her son was depressed and even attempted suicide on several occasions.

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