By NITZ ARANCON with JOEY NACALABAN
POLICE arrested a couple after their neighbors discovered the remains of their baby buried in a shallow grave beside their home at Don Miguel Village, Zone 4, Pasil in Barangay Kauswagan here yesterday.
Maj. Ian Borinaga, chief of the Carmen police station, said the body was confirmed to be that of nine-month-old Mark Nicolas Enderes.
Police arrested 34-year-old Bonifacio Enderes and his wife Marilou, 35, after their neighbors dug the body out of the shallow grave beside a makeshift storehouse at around 9:45 am. The storehouse, owned by one Oliver Estinzo, has been home to the poverty-stricken Endereses.
Borinaga said the baby’s remains would be autopsied to determine exactly how he died.
Emilio Pilapil said he and other Zone 4, Pasil residents had complained of a terrible stench in their neighborhood since July 20.
“Kaming mga silingan, nagsigi kami ug pangita asa ang baho kay basin na-ay mananap nga namatay,” said Pilapil.
He said he started suspecting that the stench was due to a decomposing corpse after the Enderes couple quarreled on Sunday. “Nakadungog ko nga ingon kana si Bonifacio nga iya nang gilubong ang bata nga patay na.”
The 64-year-old Pilapil said he and his neighbors then organized a search for the dead baby but they failed to locate where the corpse was buried.
He said he subsequently confronted one of the Enderes couple’s children who gave him the information about where the shallow grave was.
“Ma-o tong among gilakot, ug among nakita nga gisulod gihapon ug kahon. Mabaw ra kaayo ang gilubngan; wala ra gani mag taga tuhod. Mao diay tong nanimaho,” Pilapil said.
After the discovery, residents brought the matter to the attention of the police.
At the least, the Enderes couple are facing a case for keeping the death of their baby to themselves, said Borinaga, adding that they should have informed officials about it.
Police detained Bonifacio, a construction worker, and Marilou at the Carmen police station where they have been asked about the circumstances surrounding the death of their baby.
“Ma-question gyud sila. Ngano nga wala nila i-report bisan nalang sa barangay ang pagkamatay sa ilang anak. Unya ila pang gilubong daplin sa bodega nga ilang gipoy-an nga sila ray nasayod,” Borinaga said.
The Endereses maintained their innocence even as they claimed that their baby died because he got sick.
Marilou said she and her husband were not worried even if they are charged in court as she maintained their innocence.
Bonifacio said Mark Nicolas had gotten sick. “Gihilantan na siya niadtong July 17 sa gabi-e. Pagka alas 6 sa buntag July 18, namatay siya.”
He said he decided to bury the baby in a shallow grave beside their home because he did not know what to do. “Nalibog na man gud ko adtong panahona. Wala na ko masayod unsay akong buhaton. Wala mi kuwarta. Ma-o tong ako na lang gibulong dalpin sa akong gipoy-an.”
Marilou, for her part, said Mark Nicolas was prematurely born by way of caesarean delivery at the Northern Mindanao Medical Center. The baby was one of five Enderes children; another one died in the hospital 10 days after the baby was born.
The couple’s surviving children were brought to the social welfare office for custody.