Future cop turns instant midwife at Quezon City police precinctBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—All too often we hear stories about wayward law enforcers but a woman who gave birth in a very unlikely place on Monday can proclaim that not all policemen are scalawags.
Ma. Carina Santos, 33, unexpectedly went into labor on Monday and, with the help of an investigator, successfully gave birth to a baby boy on the floor of a makeshift precinct of the Quezon City Police District’s (QCPD) Traffic Sector 1 in Balintawak.
Santos, however, was not immediately able to get the name of her impromptu “midwife,” whom she wants to get as godfather for her baby, Nico.
As it turns out, the Good Samaritan who took the lead in helping Santos give birth was not yet a full-fledged policeman but a civilian investigator, Christian Barcase. Neither has he had any experience in such an emergency.
Barcase’s superior, Senior Police Officer 4 Raymundo Layug, said the investigator assisted Santos while receiving instructions from an old woman, who happened to be at the station at the time.
“Everyone at the … precinct helped me, from giving me a used carton … to lie on the floor, hot water for the delivery. I didn’t expect to give birth there. And I didn’t expect to be given so much kindness,” Santos said in an interview.
Even civilians, she said, who were present pitched in to help her give birth safely on the floor beside a photocopy machine.
Never mind that none of them have had any training in delivering babies. First on their mind was to help the woman in labor, lying bloodied on the floor of the station, which was converted from a container van.
“We didn’t think that we cannot do it. We were trained in many things but not delivering a baby! We just wanted to make sure that the baby would be born okay,” Layug said in a separate interview.
The Inquirer tried to contact Barcase but his cell phone was turned off.
The story of the emergency birth came weeks after the QCPD was badly beaten with news of alleged “kotong” (extortion) cops in its ranks, the latest of which involved SPO4 Jose de la Peña, accused of victimizing the son of a police general.
Santos, a native of Bulacan, said she was due to give birth in October and was on her way to the Fabella Hospital in Manila for a routine check-up.
“When I got off the bus, I was still able to (walk). But when I was in front of the precinct, I felt pain in my stomach,” Santos recalled.
The precinct was the nearest office in sight, so she hobbled her way there and asked for a seat—but she immediately went into labor.
Her screams for help sent five policemen and four civilians, Barcase included, into frenzy as to how to “respond” to the “distress call” in front of them.
“We were rushing here and there, getting towels and hot water for the woman. But it was Barcase who assisted the woman and told her to relax, be steady, as she pushed the baby out,” Layug recalled.
He even had to make do with a normal pair of scissors to cut the umbilical cord, as instructed by the old woman, who disappeared after the delivery.
The birth was over in 10 minutes and Santos was even able to walk a few steps to a stretcher. She was later taken to the Quezon City General Hospital with the newborn infant.
In an interview Tuesday, Santos said her baby was fine and was dozing off.
She recalled how the policemen were so happy at having been “blessed” in such a manner, playfully naming her baby as “Uno.”
“They said it was the first time that a baby was born in their office. They even took photos of me and my baby,” the mother laughed.
Santos plans to visit the precinct once she gets better to thank Barcase and the others who helped her bring a new life into the world.
“I think I was able to thank them, but I want to do it again. I can never forget such kindness,” she added.
Sought for comment, QCPD director Chief Superintendent Mario de la Vega said he will commend Barcase and the policemen’s bravery next Monday.
For Layug, what Barcase and the other policemen did was all in a day’s work.
“We know the police force has been hard hit with bad news about those in our ranks, but we don’t let that affect us. Many of us are just willing to help and serve,” he said.
For her part, Santos admitted that the incident has somewhat changed her perception of policemen.
“Some policemen may be bad, but I now know that not all of them are like that. Some of them, like those who helped me, are quite helpful and reliable. They are willing to serve, even in delivering babies for the first time,” the mother said with a chuckle.