Police officials on Friday lauded the passengers of a Quezon City-bound bus who took it upon themselves to arrest the alleged kidnapper of a 2-month-old baby girl who went missing in Parañaque City two days earlier.
A bus conductor and a midwife earlier turned over to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) a 15-year-old girl who aroused suspicion among her fellow passengers when she could not pacify the infant she was carrying on the bus in the wee hours of Dec. 27.
Fairview station commander Superintendent Virgilio Fabian said the infant was recovered from the teenager around 1 a.m. Thursday while onboard a Nova Transport bus bound for Fairview.
Fabian said the suspect later admitted during interrogation that she took the baby from a family in Seaside, Barangay (village) Tambo in Parañaque.
The teenager, however, claimed she was just following instructions from another person who promised to pay her P2,500 if she could bring the baby to Bulacan province, Fabian said.
National Capital Police Regional Office director Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina said the suspect aroused suspicion particularly from midwife Imelda Tabora, who noticed that the teenager was not carrying any milk bottle and other provisions for the baby. This was when the infant started crying, apparently because of hunger.
Tabora and the other passengers began asking her questions and “the suspect’s replies were inconsistent,” Espina said.
The passengers then informed the bus conductor about the baby and asked the driver to pull over at the corner of Regalado Avenue and Bristol Street in Barangay North Fairview to seek police assistance.
An initial investigation showed that the baby was taken by the suspect from her crib on the second floor of the family’s Parañaque home late Wednesday night.
After being reunited with their child Thursday morning, the baby’s parents told police that they did not know the suspect who apparently broke into their house while the mother was asleep and the father was out at work.
From the QCPD, the suspect was turned over to the Parañaque police, which subjected her to inquest proceedings on Friday even though she is a minor.
Parañaque police chief Senior Supt. Billy Beltran said it would be up to the prosecutor if she should be criminally charged. He said his men were also awaiting advice from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which takes custody of underage crime suspects.
“We are trying to verify if she was part of a syndicate. She was apparently not acting alone,” Beltran told the Inquirer.
Espina and Beltran hailed Tabora and her fellow passengers for being alert and inquisitive during the bus ride.
“It’s a good thing the passengers showed their concern,” Beltran noted. “They suspected wrongdoing and brought it to the attention of the police.”
Espina said the “citizen’s arrest” was worth emulating. “Sometimes it really pays to be nosy,” he added.