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Gingoog Mayor Erick Cañosa looks at the rescued baby of Marichu Villanueva shortly after a couple found the infant crying near a pig pen. (photo courtesy of the Gingoog city hall)

Couple rescues baby; cops arrest suspect

By EDWIN IYO
and NITZ ARANCON
Correspondents .

POLICE arrested a 20-year-old homosexual shortly after a couple saved a baby snatched from her mother’s side at a birthing facility in Gingoog city on Monday night.

Police identified the suspect as Richard Bernades a.k.a. Junjun of Purok 2A, Barangay 19 in Gingoog City.

Authorities said Bernades would be charged with kidnapping today.

Camp Alagar said Bernades was arrested at around 8:30 pm at his house, two hours after the baby was brought to the Gingoog police station by spouses Rigedor and Nancy Precillas of Purok 2A, Barangay 19, Gingoog City.

Police said the baby, snatched from her sleeping mother Marichu Villegas at the birthing home Puericulture Center early morning Sunday, was found by the Precillases at an abandoned house near their pig pen.

Authorities gave the baby back to Villegas.

Barangay chairperson Cresilda Lugod said Bernades was suffering from a mental health problem.

“Depressed ug several times na gahikog labi na buwagan sa iyang uyab,” she said.

Noralyn Sanchez, a zone leader, said the baby was found after Rigedor heard a baby crying while he was feeding pigs.

Sanchez said the Precillas couple first brought the matter to her attention and then they went to the police station to turn over the baby.

Gingoog Mayor Erick Cañosa, who earlier offered a reward in exchange for information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect and rescue of the baby, lauded the Gingoog police under Col. Ariel Philip Pontillas.

 Cañosa also ordered Dr. Grace Jadol, city health officer, to take care of the 33-year-old Villegas and the infant.

Jadol said the baby is in good health and is being taken care of at the Gingoog Santarium Hospital.

Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago Jr., police director for Region 10, also lauded the Gingoog police for the arrest of Bernades.

“I will personally congratulate the police personnel of Gingoog city for their immediate action and untiring efforts to recover the infant and arrest the suspect,” Santiago said.

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