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UP IN THE AIR
OFW kills self inside plane toilet

By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:15:00 10/21/2010

Filed Under: Overseas Employment, Suicide

MANILA, Philippines?His body was discovered inside the toilet of a Gulf Air plane that landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Wednesday morning.

He was an overseas Filipino worker. A flight stewardess discovered his lifeless body. He appeared to have committed suicide, police said. He was identified as Marlon Cueva by the airline?s local station manager, Khaled Ahmed Abdulrahman.

Last month, a newly born healthy boy was dumped inside the trash bin of the lavatory of another Gulf Air flight.

His story focused public attention on the plight of many overseas Filipinos laborers. So does this story.

Cueva, 36, of Lubang Island in Mindoro Occidental, worked for three months as an electrician in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. He was among the passengers of GF-154 flight which landed at NAIA Terminal 1 at around 11:20 a.m.

Senior Supt. Napoleon Cuaton, the Pasay City police chief, said Cueva was found hanging inside the lavatory at the rear of the Airbus 330 by the flight stewardess a few minutes after it landed. The stewardess was checking if all passengers had left the aircraft.

A Filipino nurse, who was among the passengers, tried to revive Cueva, according to Cuaton.

?I don?t know why he did this. There?s no reason at all. We wonder why he would do this,? said Cueva?s sobbing wife, Vilma, at the NAIA medical office. Vilma and two female relatives had been waiting for his arrival.

Crime scene

She asked media men to leave and give them privacy.

Police investigators found the victim slumped on the aisle outside the lavatory. A picture of the crime scene showed him lying face up, wearing a black jacket and blue polo shirt.

?The strangulation injuries seem to be self-inflicted. He probably used a clothing article to hang himself. There were no ropes or wires. The lavatory was intact,? Cuaton told reports.

?There are no signs of foul play. But we?ll leave it to our forensics experts to establish the suicide,? he added.

The flight stewardess told the police that the victim hanged himself by tying the sleeve of his shirt around the neck.

Cuaton said Cueva?s ?unusual actions? had caused some alarm shortly before the flight took off at the Bahrain International Airport. The victim was approaching passengers and stewards alike, inexplicably apologizing for something, the police official said.

Restless passenger

?He was saying sorry for something and then shook their hands one by one. The stewardesses could not understand what he was saying so they requested the Filipino passengers to calm him down,? Cuaton said.

In one instance before the plane landed, Cueva, who was sitting near the lavatory, swapped places with a passenger at the back, he said. Nobody had noticed when he had gone there, he added.

Police brought the body out of the plane at around 4 p.m.

Abdulrahman apologized to some 300 passengers who were waiting to board the Gulf Air plane on its return trip at 12:30 p.m.

The baby abandoned in September was turned over to social workers. Police later found the mother, who told authorities she abandoned him because she feared how her husband and family would react.

She said she had been raped by her Middle East employer, and his wife had forced her to return home, officials said.

One in 10 Filipinos works abroad, many as maids and laborers in the Middle East, to escape crushing poverty and unemployment at home. With a report from Associated Press



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