Woman’s tale of baby’s kidnap declared a hoax
Last week a woman told a tale of the alleged abduction of her two-week-old baby by a taxi driver and a female cohort so horrifying and unbelievable that Manila Police District (MPD) personnel immediately stirred into action for the recovery of the stolen infant.
But on Saturday, MPD Sta. Cruz station 3 commander Superintendent James Afalla declared the kidnapping tale as a hoax.
Afalla said that the baby supposed to have been abducted does not exist and that one of the two alleged kidnappers that the complainant described turned out to be her own landlady.
Afalla told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Maricel Quijano, of Caloocan City, admitted to women’s desk investigators in his station that she had made up the entire story to avoid the ire of her live-in partner’s mother.
Fabricated a story
“She [Quijano] has been living in with her partner for ten years and had not given birth to a child. She claimed that her mother-in-law had been wanting them to have a child and Quijano had to fabricate the whole story that she gave birth to a girl and that it was stolen just as her mother-in-law requested to see the new-born baby,” Afalla explained.
Asked whom Quijano described for the rendering of the artist’s sketch of the suspect in the alleged June 13 kidnapping, Afalla said: “It was her [Quijano’s] landlady. When our police investigators went to her rented room in Caloocan City, my men noted the resemblance of the landlady to the woman on the artist’s sketch.”
Afalla pointed out that he and his men had to conduct a background check on the complainant to verify her claim, adding, “There were so many holes in her story that we had to conduct a deeper investigation.”
What first drew suspicion, he said, was how Quijano expressed confusion as to who had helped her give birth in her home. “Initially she (Quijano) claimed that a hilot near her house had aided her but later on, when asked for a name, she changed her statement and told us that a friend had recommended a midwife whose name she did not know.”
Investigators later asked Quijano of any proof of birth but she could give none. “She had no birth certificate or pictures of the baby,” Afalla said, adding that the absence of proof led them to conclude that no birth even took place.
He declared the incident a hoax after piecing together inconsistencies in Quijano’s statement, including: The fact that during her alleged eight-hour ride she never attempted to fight off the kidnappers nor call for help; that the taxi did not even stop or run out of gas during the ride; her failure to take note of the taxi’s license plate; as well as the fact that during her “aimless walk” in Rizal Park, she happened to have been found by a neighbor in Caloocan City and accompanied to the police station to file a report.
For her part, Quijano maintained that she did not make up the story and denied that she had described her landlady as the suspect in the incident.
“I do not want to speak about it anymore. We will just resolve it ourselves,” she told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Quijano had initially claimed that the driver of a taxi she had taken on the afternoon of June 13 from a hospital in Sta. Cruz, and a female cohort, allegedly snatched her two-week-old girl, took them on an eight-hour ride around Manila, before she was shoved off the cab and left behind walking aimlessly in the darkness of Rizal Park.
Apart from the infant, she alleged that the pair also robbed her of P8,000 cash.
Afalla said that Quijano could be held liable for perjury and giving false statement under the Revised Penal Code but, for humanitarian reasons, had not filed the charges against her.
“Desperation might have driven her to fabricate the story. We requested her to undergo psychiatric evaluation,” he said.
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