Cebu gov’t hospital offers cash reward for arrest of baby abductor
CEBU CITY—A government hospital is offering a cash reward of P100,000 for the arrest of a woman who stole a two-day-old baby from the facility on Monday.
The amount might increase because employees of Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) were chipping in their own money to raise the cash reward so the suspect would be arrested, said Dr. Sophia Mancao, Department of Health in Central Visayas acting assistant director.
“They (VSMMC) are giving a reward… cash reward of about P100,000 for now. It is still increasing because the employees themselves are raising funds… money from their own pockets,” she said in a news conference on Tuesday.
She said the employees wanted to help because their image and the hospital are affected because of the controversy.
Asked where the P100,000 cash reward would come from, Mancao said it might be sourced from the hospital’s own funds.
VSMMC is under the jurisdiction of DOH-7.
A woman dressed in a white scrub suit walked out of the VSMMC with the two-day-old infant son of Jayvee and Jonathan Celadenia.
The couple’s second child was named Prince Nino as homage to the Holy Child Jesus to whom the couple prayed after there were complications in the delivery. Their older son is 2 years old.
The baby was supposed to be discharged on that day. The couple was only waiting for the processing of their Philhealth insurance to be completed when a woman told Jayvee that she had to take the baby to the laboratory so he could be given anti-dengue vaccine.
The mother went with the woman. When they reached the door of the laboratory room, the woman told Jayvee that she could not go inside. Jayvee handed the baby to the suspect.
Jayvee went back to the ward and waited for her baby’s return. But the woman never came back with the baby.
Instead, the footage of the close circuit television camera showed the young woman walking toward the exit of the hospital with the baby. She passed by at least two security guards who didn’t take notice of her even if she was not wearing any ID.
Senior Inspector Randy Caballes, chief of Fuente Police Station 2, said a special team had been created to solve the case.
“We are getting the statement of the father. Then, we are also tracing possible footage from CCTV cameras from the establishments outside the exit area of the hospital,” Caballes said.
The police also set up hotline numbers–032-2535636 and 0949-7646593–to allow those with information on the suspect to contact the authorities immediately.
Mancao said the suspect appeared to have knowledge on usual hospital procedure on newborns.
She said blood samples were usually taken from some newborns for laboratory tests before they were released from the hospital.
While the suspect was not a hospital employee, she added they were not discounting the possibility that she might have connived with some VSMMC employees.
Mancao said medical staff assigned in the ward where Jayvee stayed was included in the investigation.
The woman also came from the nearby Cebu Puericulture and Maternity House before going to the VSMMC.
A CCTV footage from CPMH showed that the woman in white scrub suit talking to the security guard at 11:35 a.m. on Monday.
According to security guard Felipe Odim, the woman, who was wearing a face mask, introduced herself as an intern and asked the location of the labor room.
While she was on her way to the labor room, some of the staff noticed the woman.
Staff midwife Jona Fe Pauner, who was stationed at the entrance of the labor room, asked the woman what was her purpose for entering the area.
The woman told Pauner that she was an intern from the University of San Carlos, but Pauner told her that they did not have interns from USC and that no one was allowed to enter the labor room, not even the families of the mothers about to give birth.
The woman was forced to step out of the hospital. According to the security guard, she was seen walking towards the direction of VSMMC, which was just about less than 100 meters away. With Carine Asutilla-Lapid, Inquirer Visayas
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