Before Shay Cullen ‘rescued’ the children on July 3rd 2014, I had the pleasure of rescuing them first. This is the story of how I came to have Catherine, David Joseph, Victoria, Angelina and Peter Nicholas in my care. Let me first tell you about Baby Michael Clemente.
I have often said ‘I make a plan and God laughs’ and laugh He did. In 2005, He sent me a very ill newborn. Baby Michael Clemente is of the Aeta Tribe. Although my original intention was to set up a home for ‘street boys’ it became clear to me that God really did have other plans. Over the years, He sent me quite a few babies which was probably a good idea as babies don’t care if you can’t speak Tagalog, they learn English as they grow.
The baby pictured below is Baby Michael Clemente, born on December 20th 2005, my first ‘unwanted’ baby. Pediatricians had told the family that he would probably have cystic fibrosis, an impossible situation for an Aeta family. I had no choice but to say I would take care of him. A choice I didn’t mind making.
While Michael was in the Gordon Hospital the family eventually stopped coming to take care of him. In a Filipino hospital there must always be a ‘bantay’ or watcher. It is a very different system than in the U.S. and so the only thing I could do was to hire women to stay with the baby. I stayed with Michael on Christmas Eve 2005, Buenos Noches is an important evening in the Philippines. I let the watcher go home and I got to sit up all night with Michael. It really makes you think of Baby Jesus – a baby at Christmas.
Christmas morning was a drama as the baby stopped breathing. It was a good job I was paying attention and I hollered to the nurses and within seconds a pediatric resident was attending to Michael and cleared his breathing. I remember standing there in shock at what had just happened and how quickly the doctor had taken care of the baby. When she said to me “Ma’am Sherry, maybe you should just let this one go” I was even more shocked. I told her that if this baby wants to live and I believed he did and she had the medical skills and God wanted the baby to live then I had the money to take care of him.
Three weeks later he came to the farm where he would stay for one year. His story is included in Patients, Medical Missions and Christening.
Me, aged 57, with the young Mother, Great Grandmother and Grandmother visiting Michael for a few hours. I was old enough to be the Mother of the Grandmother.
Taking care of Michael was an interesting time for me, I had never taken care of a ‘bottle-fed’ baby. I bought a book, much to the amusement of my son, Philip who thought I knew everything about babies. The book I highly recommend to new mothers is “The Baby Whisperer.” I was fortunate to find a copy and I read it over and over again. I think without reading and learning from that book I could not have possibly taken care of so many babies. In 2008, I had four babies under the age of two… it was like having 15 month old triplets and a newborn.
Joseph Mariano and my caretaker, Angelito “Itong” Manzano were great and without them I could not have managed. Joseph is now father of three children and Itong is father of six. Both of them learned the ’foreign’ way of taking care of an infant which is so different than the Filipino way. Every culture has there own way of taking care of infants. I liked my way best – no patting, no constant rubbing, finish the bottle, get rid of the burps, keep the diaper changed and don’t overdress the baby.
Michael on a visit to the farm in 2011, he looked great and in the other picture, taken on the same day, he is standing with Catherine. She is nearly 5 years old and Michael is 6.
The Children who were ‘Rescued”
Catherine came to the farm in 2007, she was 3 weeks old and very sick. The two women who brought her told me that the baby had blood in its stool and even though they had sought help at the local free, government clinic they were told to take the baby to a hospital. Simple enough if you have money but if you don’t there is not much you can do so they did the next best thing, they brought the baby to me, at the farm.
After talking for a few moments to the women I realized that the baby had become dehydrated. The baby was listless and pale. Immediately, I got everyone in the Pajero and drove to the Emergency Room at the Gordon Hospital in Olongapo. The young pediatric residents are for the most part excellent and have always been quick to help any of the children I had taken there.
Catherine was confined, immediately hooked up to an I.V. The pediatrician told me that the baby was most probably allergic to the lactose in milk. I had never heard of such a thing as my own sons had been breastfed but I went to the drugstore and bought the necessary lactose FREE milk. Unfortunately, the milk wasn’t free, it was very expensive.
The ‘mother’ of Catherine put her head down on the counter and started crying. She could not afford the milk to keep the baby alive nor could she afford a week’s confinement in the hospital. I assured her that I would help her and to just please stay with the baby in the hospital. The mother had 4 other children at home, one was a ’special needs’ child , three in school and her husband’s job was as a tricycle driver. The mother, also through a translator, told me that the baby was in fact not hers but a friend’s who had left the newborn with her to take care of. A common practice in the Philippines.
When the baby was released from the hospital about a week later, the only place for the baby to go and get the proper care and nourishment, and for the ‘mother’ to see the baby was at the farm. I gave Catherine her nickname, the name on her birth certificate is Prencess Mae Estrada. It is spelled with an E not an I.
In Britain one cannot give a baby a name that is a Title. It was strange for me to call her Princess, even though to me she was a precious little princess. Of course I slept with “Catherine” in my large bed. When she got older, she loved to hear the story of how she came to the farm and that she really wasn’t beautiful when she arrived. I told her that at night I would look at her and think she wasn’t so beautiful….but..in the morning when I woke up with her, she had become prettier…and that happened every day. She would laugh when I told her that one day I looked in the mirror….she had stolen my beauty. She was beautiful and I was becoming old. Actually, Catherine was a lovely baby but all children love to hear stories about themselves.
Catherine was as beautiful inside as she was outside. I didn’t need the quote,below, to tell me how to talk to children…but I think it speaks. All children are beautiful.
I think that this says a lot…. Catherine was told she became beautiful, wherever she goes, her 7 years with me will impact her life forever. I have Faith that she and I will see each other again.. I loved her with all my heart….to infinity…times.
David Joseph was born 1 year and 1 week later on May 12th 2008. His mother, Immelda Melomeda, had given birth to twin girls, 13 months prior. It was 11 p.m. when my Caretaker, Itong, woke me to tell me that there was an emergency and that Immelda was about to deliver and there was no comadrona (midwife) available. Not much else for me to do but drive the short distance to the crossing in the river, pick up Immelda and some family members and drive as quickly as possible to the Gordon Hospital. This was Immelda’s 10th child and babies often come quickly. This was the middle of the night.
On arrival at the hospital, Immelda was immediately taken to the delivery room where she delivered the little boy about ten minutes later. A close call for me as I have never delivered a baby and only have basic nursing skills.
When the bill came for the confinement, delivery and tubal ligation and, I had to entreat the Municipal office to write off the bill for the mother and child. Entreat in this case meant taking Ramile, the father, the twin baby girls, and my caretaker, Itong, as translator.
By showing the municipal office that there were other babies in the house and there was no money to pay the bill, the Mayor Gordon’s office covered the bill. It was a lot of work to convince the staff of the Mayor’s office but as always, they helped me to help those who could never have done it on their own. Immelda was released from the hospital after about 12 days and taken home.
The family asked me if I would take care of their son as they could not handle both the twins, their other children and a new baby. So, I thought about it, talked with Barangay Captain Fedaliso who accompanied me to the home of the family to discuss and translate. Ramile and Immelda’s home was walking distance from the farm. Seemed simple enough to me and I love babies so there would be no problem.
Angelina and Victoria Three weeks after the arrival of David Joseph, Ramile and Immelda brought the twins, Angelina and Victoria and asked me to take them as well. I was shocked at the condition of the twins especially compared to how Catherine had flourished. Again, I thought about it for a moment and said I would. It was that simple. The children of the barangay (village) would stay in the barangay and grow up to know their parents and family but have all their needs met. Catherine would have ’playmates’ and David Joseph would have his sisters.
The three siblings were not abandoned by their parents no matter what anyone says or writes. Their parents made a conscious decision to have me take care of their children. Their father, Ramile, had worked at the farm for years. The three Melomeda children knew their parents and visited them often.
First Birthday is an important milestone in the Philippines. Many children die within the first year. We didn’t have a big party as I was doing the construction of the addition to the Visitor’s Center. The traditional meal of spaghetti was served. Catherine and Victoria are seen enjoying Yacult – a yogurt style drink.
Please see at the bottom of this page excerpts from my diary dated June 2012. This and photographs were presented, by my attorney, to the Prosecutor to show the challenges of caring for Angelina as well as my efforts to have her placed with the DSWD in 2012.
Peter Nicholas is a different story. He was born December 22, 2013. He was not from the village but his Mother’s girl friend knew me as she had been to the farm, a few time, for different events. I was told that the baby would be born sometime in February. Not a problem for me as Christmas would be over, the Annual Christmas Party for the Aeta Children would be over, most of the tremendous mess caused by Typhoon Ondoy would be finished, the repairs to the house would be done and a new baby was always a Blessing.
The Mother came to the farm and said she thought it would be a good idea for her baby to be taken care of by me, for a while. Unbeknownst to me though the Mother was 7 months pregnant with her second child and her Grandmother was taking care of the first child and could/would not take care of another. I was told the young woman was 5 months, with her first. This is why the baby was born 3 days before Christmas, at full term.
I have been told since that if I had not said I would take care of the baby, the Mother would have tried to have an abortion. As she was 7 months pregnant at the time she met me, the child would have been viable and the Mother could have died. The Mother had not gone for any pre-natal check-ups and really didn’t know when the baby was due. Peter Nicholas was a lovely baby and appeared to be Korean. Peter Nicholas was not a ‘love-child’, I firmly believe that his Mother worked in a bar to feed her first child and this one was an ‘accident’ baby.
This is the baby who Shay Cullen said was a severely malnourished baby and mistakenly called Jhon Paul in the charges he took out against me. See Jhon Paul’s story below. None of the children I took care of were ever malnourished.
So, that quite simply, is how a 65 year old woman can ’acquire’ 5 children.
There have been other children stay at the farm over the years. In 2012, one young girl, Roni, was staying with a Born Again Preacher and his wife. Pam and Martin Scott were returning to England for health reasons. Roni attended the school the couple had built for mostly Aeta children in San Marcelino. Someone was needed to take care of her so she could finish out her year and graduate to High School. I said I would but because the little girl was not originally from the village I lived in, I did all the correct things.
The Pastor and I went with the child to the DSWD office in San Marcelino and with their help got permission from the Father for me to take care of the child till sometime after graduation. All of that is documented and it was a great relief to me when the little girl graduated 6th grade and returned to the family. There was nothing sinister in the child’s need for care it was purely so the child could graduate but Martin knew that it could cause problems if not properly documented.
This is a slideshow of Roni at the farm, her Birthday week-end when she and some classmates stayed over. We drained the pond that week-end which was lots of fun and fish. Her friends slept with her in the 1st little bamboo hut.
Jhon Paul Another baby was taken care of in January of 2012 and he was the grandchild of Ramile and Immelda (the parents of David Joseph, Angelina and Victoria.) Baby Jhon Paul was a patient in the San Marcelino Hospital when the Mother, Wendy, came to the farm with her stepfather Ramile. The baby needed a blood transfussion. It was an emergency.
Nothing for it but to down tools, clean my hands, grab my bag and head off to the hospital with Ramile and Wendy. The baby was in a very bad way, pneumonia, anemia and malnourished. There was nothing for it but to have Jhon Paul moved to the Gordon Hospital by ambulance as the baby had to be on oxygen,
I rode in the ambulance holding the baby as I was afraid the baby would die before he got there and I wanted to be the one holding him.
Getting the permission of the hospital, the free ambulance and the bill negated at the San Marcelino Hospital was easy for me. I have done it so many times and everyone knew me. One could say that I am a Healthcare Advocate who takes no prisoners when it comes to saving the life of a child or the Aeta. Jhon Paul was returned to his Mother in the office of the DSWD in Subic. He was a wonderful, giggly baby.
I could tell stories all day and show pictures of my patients, my notes, and tell how hard it had been doing this work, many times alone, in the jungle. It all seemed manageable until 8 typhoons hit the farm in 2013. I was alone that night in September 2013 with Catherine, David Joseph and Victoria but that is another chapter.
Shay Cullen wrote in more than one publication that the children were taken to parties in Barrio Baretto. Of course they went to parties, they were children and children go to parties
EXCERPTS FROM SHERRY ZIMMER’S DIARY
This document was prepared for my defense. It proved that I was in contact with both Nellie Pagar and Marie Hebron of the D.S.W.D.
This slide is of pictures taken the day I took Wendy, Jhon Paul and Immelda to the DSWD office in Subic. Nellie Pagar is in charge of that office.
Other photographs were added which were also taken by me to substantiate what I am professing, that the children went to school and were happy, well fed, well taken care of and loved by me.
Angelina was not malnourished when she left my home in 2012 to live with her parents. She was not in poor condition, but however when she was brought back to me in April 2014 she was not in good condition. I was shocked to see that she had not grown I was even more shocked that she started smashing things in the house and had developed coprophagia which means she was eating her own poop and spreading it.
Jhon Paul, in the diary, is the infant who was returned to his Mother, Wendy, in 2012. The pictures show he was not malnourished, but he had been very ill and was recovering from 3 weeks in the Pedia Ward of the Gordon Hospital when I brought him to the farm, at the request of his Mother Wendy. He had arrived in the January of 2012.
It also proves that I gave water to the workers of Preda who were doing construction and took care of a foot wound of one Irishman who had been injured on the job.)
Thursday June 14th 2012
I awoke to the noise of Angelina and David Joseph going at it. The baby, Jhon Paul was doing his normal cooing which is really very noisy. It was 5.45 am. Nothing to do but get up and get the day started but the noise of Angelina was most upsetting. She was throwing herself around and also throwing things.
The morning ritual of a tablespoon of dry Mylo was observed. Catherine, Victoria and David Joseph eat it with a spoon and never leave a crumb of the chocolate drink mix. They don’t like it made up into a hot drink, they like it dry and once a day only. Angelina used her hands and got it all over her face, as usual.
While all of this was going on, the baby got his bottle and the children’s room was picked up, 8 pillows stripped of their cases and the white sheets from last night were all put in the washing machine. Sheets get washed everyday here and pillows every couple of weeks. Angelina’s hands and face were washed off and the cloth rinsed and also put in the machine. Ants are a real problem in the jungle and this cloth would have drawn many, within minutes, so it’s easier just to rinse it and stick in the machine than clean up a mess of ants. If Angelina is not promptly washed off then she will run straight into the children’s room, touching everything on the way and jump onto the couch and wipe her hands on the white sheet that covers it. We have to use sheets on the couch and chairs as Angelina will poop and pee on them. If a sheet is not replaced promptly on the couch then Angelina will pull more of the foam off and eat it and spread it all over the house.
Breakfast that morning was going to have to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as the gas tank had emptied and there was no way to cook anything. Angelina’s sandwich had to be squashed so she can’t just lick the filling off and we have to cut it into small pieces. There was enough hot water in the thermos for my tea, fortunately.
Half of Angelina’s food was thrown about and she was making a dreadful noise much to the disturbance of the other children. Angelina drinks a lot of water and so her cup was filled and she promptly threw it out, banged the counter for more and kept up her hollering.
While I was cleaning up the kitchen, Angelina took off her diaper and threw it off the front porch, her red nightshirt had already been taken off and lay on the living room floor, she hollered to have a shirt put on, she had got one from the drawer and within minutes of it being put on it was also taken off and joined the wet diaper. Something else to be cleaned up.
Catherine and Victoria took their morning shower and I dressed them for school in their little white T-shirts and navy blue pinafores. All of these clothes were in my room instead of their drawers as Angelina will pull out anything from the drawers and either chew on it or throw it out. Their ‘slippers’ were washed when they returned from school, yesterday, and put up high so Angelina would not eat them or throw them in the irrigation canal. As she has done many times before.
Neither Joseph or Jun turned up for work, it was just Lolo Joe and he could see, quite plainly, the ‘bad’ behaviour of Angelina. I told Joe that I had made a promise to Boss Rick, last night, that I would return Angelina to her parents for the sake of the other children and my sanity. Four years of this has been enough for anyone and at 63 I am exhausted. I have made 6 trips to the DSWD in less than 2 weeks, given them all the supporting documents regarding Angelina and they have promised a home visit to Angelina’s family home but so far it has not happened and every day here is becoming more and more painful.
I knew, this time last year, that Angelina was more than I could handle but with promises of help for her I decided to stick it out until the magic cure was found. The promises were kept but the magic cure has not been found. Angelina has the behaviour of a very naughty 2 year old but with the strength and ‘cunning’ of a five year old.
I asked Joe to go to the house of Ramile and Immelda and tell them to come. I had already tried calling Wendy’s cell phone but no answer. Joe returned with the news that no one was there. He suggested we just take the baby, David Joseph and Angelina to the house in Del Pilar where they also seemed to be living. It wasn’t a great idea as it would have left the farm with no one here and we were expecting a tank of propane gas.
I had bathed Angelina and we got her dressed for the 4th time since she woke up and Joe and I drove to Del Pilar. Wendy was the first to see us and she didn’t look too happy, Immelda couldn’t disguise the look of disgust on her face. She knew her life and plans for the day were going to change. Angelina was handed over. I took a picture of her to record the time and date and the fact that she was wearing her pink shorts and top set.
Today is the first time that the children have sat at their long table in weeks. The mess created by Angelina at the table. in past months would take nearly an hour to clean up and so the children have been eating all their meals on the long counter.
Friday June 15th 2012
Friday morning was the first morning I can remember that I wasn’t awoken to the sound of Angelina. It was most pleasant but bittersweet as I immediately wondered how she was doing. Victoria, as usual, was nagging for Mylo. The children have not yet asked where Angelina is.
Mylo was served in the kitchen while I cooked the noodles for breakfast, there was no mess, no noise and though the baby was awake and needed changing he just played in his big crib. Jhon Paul is quite the easiest baby ever.
The girls showered after breakfast and dressed in their school uniforms, I had readjusted the straps last night. Maybe Victoria will not cut her skirt with her scissors this time. Catherine may have been the one to cut the skirt as she has the experience of cutting. She cut David Joseph’s hair, Victoria’s and a bit of her only a few days before school started.
That morning was the first time that I was able to leave ‘stuff’ from my pockets in the bathroom, it may seem silly but it was like a ‘freedom’. Anything left out before would certainly have been found by Angelina and either hidden or put down the toilet. It is hard to teach anyone to keep their eye on a hyperactive child when they are trying to do their work. Angelina is much more than hyperactive.
As we were about to leave, everyone being ready, Ramile turned up for clothes for Angelina. The fact that he should have been here yesterday afternoon had nothing to do with it. I told him he would have to wait until I returned from taking Catherine and Victoria to school.
When I got back, I took some clothes, in fact quite a few, photographed them to prove they had been given and had Joseph hand them over. They also wanted diapers. Ramile let Joseph know that Angelina was not easy and asked whose decision it was to hand over Angelina to the family. Joseph told him that it was my decision. I think they now realize after just one day and night with Angelina that it is not easy in fact it is downright hard. My plan is that the family will sign the child over to the DSWD and then she can be placed in the Amor Village in Tarlac. I can only hope that it will work. Angelina is constantly on my mind even though she is not here but I found myself laughing twice before 8.30. I don’t remember laughing.
While I was at the market I made a quick trip over to the DSWD and found out that Nellie Pagar would not be in the office this afternoon. Another seminar but at least I would not have to worry about her waiting for me and Immelda.
For the first time the children sat in front of the television at my big glass coffee table and ate their lunch and eat they certainly did. There was no mess to clean up and Joseph and I laughed at how easy it was becoming.
After lunch, I lay down with the baby on the big blanket on the floor. He is such a giggler and David Joseph had fun making the baby laugh. I became tired and decided to take a nap, just like yesterday. Another 3 hour nap. Immelda did not come and as it had rained all afternoon I think that taking a nap was the best thing I could do. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on
.Saturday June 16th.
The kids were up as usual by 6, demanding Mylo. I had my tea and fixed them French Toast. The baby was cleaned up and fed. It is different here without Angelina.
Monday June 18th
Woke at 6 am and got the day started, Mylo and noodles. I had no idea if school would be open today but the children’s things were ready. Joe often comes early but this morning it was just after 7 when he arrived. He told me that there was no school today.
Joe had no bolo/machete as Jun had seemingly left it somewhere. So my plans for the day were changed. It would be hard to go to the market. My visit to the DSWD would not happen and I was becoming worried about how Angelina was doing.
Some of my thoughts last night.: The children (3) should start going to church, they already knew how to say their Blessing before a meal, conversations about Jesus often come up and they have now reached the age where they can walk into a church and not be carried, they can also sit still and they don’t wear diapers. I enjoyed taking my own sons to church. It will do us all good, we can go to different churches. A Mass in English would be nice. The reason that I would like to take them to different churches is to realize at an early age that a Christian is someone who believes in Christ.
June 19th 2012 Tuesday
The children are now able to sit at the coffee table and draw and play without Angelina destroying everything. It feels a little more normal here or as normal as it can with 2 five year olds, a four year old and an eight month old.
David Joseph, Catherine and Victoria playing with educational stuff and crayons. This would have been impossible with Angelina as she would eat the crayons.
No one will ever understand how hard it was here with Angelina but I will follow up as to what the DSWD is doing.
The children played and did normal fussing and whining, the kitchen got cleaned up and the baby got fed. Jhon Paul had enjoyed being in his Johnny Jump Up Swing. We couldn’t use it before with Angelina here.
Wednesday June 20th
Angelina will be gone for a whole week tomorrow and to an extent things are much easier but it seems that David Joseph is filling in the void left by her. I have heard nothing from the DSWD and so it would seems I must go back to their office and follow up.
Thursday June 21st
It took only a few minutes to do the egg fried rice and it was all eaten. Dessert was fruit cocktail. No mess and no buckets of water sluicing out the mess that Angelina could make. I still had not heard from the DSWD.
A call to Nellie Pagar was less than promising and when I asked her if she had done anything about Angelina she told me she had handed the case over to Marie Hebron in Olongapo. The case included the case study I had done, the medical records and the copy of the birth certificate. I pressed on and asked about the status of Jhon Paul. It had also been handed over to Marie. I made a call to Marie and it took a while but she eventually said she would be in Castillejos on Tuesday and would try to do something then. She asked me to text her about the case. I told her I could not text her about the case as both cases would take too long but I would meet her on Tuesday and take her to the home of Immelda or to Del Pilar where Wendy seemed to be living. A most frustrating situation.
Monday June 25th
On the way back to the farm I saw Immelda, Wendy and Ramile. Wendy was holding Angelina who appeared to have had a haircut, Angelina didn’t seem to pay any attention to me, Joseph or the Pajero. I told Wendy and Immelda that the DSWD would be around the following day and would we find them at their house in the village or would they be over in Del Pilar. They told me they would be in their own home in the village. I let Wendy know that she would either have to take her baby back or sign it over to the DSWD. As much as I love little Jhon Paul it is too hard for me.
Tuesday June 26th
For the first time that morning, since the children started school I was unable to get up, I was completely worn out. Albert took the children to school and they were 15 minutes late, after the day and the evening I had had I didn’t really care but I could not sleep the morning away as today the DSWD was coming to interview Immelda and they also might come to the farm.
The men went home for lunch and Marie Hebron text me at 1.15p.m. to tell me she had arrived at the outpost . Albert and I drove the car to the outpost and picked her. My intention was to have Albert go with her to Immelda’s house for the interview. There was no need for me to be there.
The river was running a little fast and muddy and when Marie saw that she would have to cross she said she was not prepared. Her shoes were too nice. I suggested to Albert that we drove over the Aeta bridge and they could get to Immelda’s house that way. It seemed the only option. I left them to walk the short distance and headed back to the farm.
I had not been back at the farm very long when I got a text from Marie that Immelda was not there. I went to the car to get Marie and Albert as I saw them walking to the farm. I suggested we just drive to Del Pilar and find them there. No need was the answer from Marie and proceeded into my house.
Marie really just wanted to see where I and the children lived and I was acutely aware of it. She wanted to go over details that I told her were in the case study I had handed into Nellie Pagar and as I had been told were now in Marie’s possession. She wanted to see Jhon Paul’s Birth Certificate. It was arduous to say the least.
I did notice though that Marie asked to use the restroom and even though there were soap and towels, she did not use them. How’s that for Family Values. Her main question to me was how did I afford what I do. I had no intention of telling her I just told her I had sold my rather large house in America, my business and vehicles.
Marie looked at the children’s pond, which is moving water, and asked if we had mosquitoes, I laughed and told her we did of course as we live in the jungle and this is the Philippines but the children all had mosquito nets.
At about 2.45 she suggested that we go to Del Pilar. It was all I could do to smile and say Sure…
We arrived in Del Pilar about 3. Marie was only in the house for a few moments not nearly as long as she had been in my house. I don’t believe she even sat down.
I was less than amused in the car. I looked at the face of Immelda and she was pissed…. I told her that I wanted Angelina and Jhon Paul turned over to the DSWD. I also noticed that there was standing water on both sides of the little cement house. Mosquitoes reproduce in standing water, there was no question to Immelda as to whether there were mosquitoes there.
When we left Del Pilar, Marie and I discussed the situation. Marie told me that it seemed alright but she would make her decision at a later date. I asked her about Jhon Paul, again she said she would make her decision later.
I dropped her off at the bus stop.
The men left at 4 pm after we discussed that maybe the Baby Jhon Paul would be returned to Wendy the following day.
The children had sardines, rice and bananas for dinner, I ate my first avocado of the season.
Wednesday June 27th 2012
I woke at 5.30, before the alarm, and I knew what I was going to do. Yesterday, I was made a fool of by Immelda and to a certain extent by Marie Hebron. Seemingly, it was not going to be my decision about anything even though I had taken care of Angelina for four years, and the baby Jhon Paul for 6 months.
My decision, which I relayed to the men was that Jhon Paul would be returned today to his mother, Wendy. There was no gratitude, only scorn, on the part of Immelda or Wendy and certainly not the DSWD whose job it is to safeguard children. I again remembered the saying from the Bible “What you do to the least of these you do unto me” and couldn’t help but feel guilty.
In celebration of my decision I had Joe take down the gates that separated the cooking part of the kitchen. For years I had had to climb over those fences and now with the decisions I had made I was not going to have to climb any more. The very thought of having to safeguard the house with gates for Jhon Paul was about more than I could think of and I also knew that the longer he stayed the harder it would be for me to give him up at the convenience of his mother and the DSWD.
The Irish fellow, Dave, came over with two other workers from Preda. I did have someone to talk to for a few minutes, one of his companions was Baby Michael’s father….another reminder of heartache and why I didn’t and couldn’t take care of Jhon Paul.
Albert went to get the girls which gave me a chance to give the baby a bath, I was still arguing with myself as whether today would be the day to return him or tomorrow. He is teething.
When Joe arrived he settled David Joseph down. Joe had been to Immelda’s house and there was no one there which meant we were all going to Del Pilar. When Albert arrived I started getting the baby’s things pulled together, same as before, clothes, diapers, bottles, formula, blanket.
Emotionally it is hard to hand over a baby especially one as sweet as Jhon Paul, this was the second time in as many weeks that I had been put through this.
Joe and I took the girls, the baby and the bag of stuff and headed towards Del Pilar. The door of the little house was shut and we weren’t sure if anyone was home but they were. Immelda looked to be in a foul mood and I can’t say as I was any too pleased myself, Joe was told to tell her that if she said one word negative about me then she could take back all of her children and I would take her to court. My patience in all of this has about run out and I feel that I have been used. The rumours going around is that they intended to bring me the 3rd child of the eldest, mute daughter. No one knows who the father of that child is.
Thursday June 28th
Joseph Beltran was married at the farm in a double wedding ceremony last January. The event was sponsored by Rick and Catherine and officiated over by the Mayor. It was legal under Philippine law and it also was an Aeta Wedding. The photographs are great. It made Joseph Beltran’s 5 children legitimate in the eyes of the law.
I had been working on the computer for a while when one of the children came and told me that someone was here. It was Dave the Irishman, I was surprised to see him as there was no one with him. He told me he was going home for the day, his foot was swollen to some size and was obviously infected. He told me he had hurt it about a week ago but it had only within the last day or two been hurting. There was no way he could work with that foot, he could hardly walk.
With no school tomorrow I let the children stay up a bit later but I was very tired and it continued to rain. I have heard nothing from the hospital. I have no idea if Joseph will be down tomorrow but I somehow think he will. I have lots to do and just hope I have the energy to do it all. I miss Jhon Paul and Angelina, there have been a lots of separations in the last couple of weeks and it makes me feel really sad.
June 30th Saturday
Breakfast was late, the children wanted eggs and rice and so as it was being prepared, Wendy and a little girl came walking into the farm. Wendy was carrying Jhon Paul and he appeared to be asleep. I immediately asked her was he okay, she told me he was just sleeping but she wanted the baby to come back to the farm. This was too much, I told her to walk to where Joe and Albert were working and ask them to come. Wendy doesn’t really talk English plus I wanted my workers to be witness to what was going on.
From what I could gather from the conversation, the boyfriend and Wendy had split and she had no way to support the baby. This was a far cry from what they had told the DSWD… that they could support. Wendy was now living in Immelda’s house in the barangay. The decision to tell Wendy to take the baby back to Immelda’s house was one of the hardest things I have had to do in the Philippines. I checked the can of formula and it was nearly empty but as the family had told the DSWD they could afford to keep the baby I decided that I must stick to my guns.
One piece of information garnered from Wendy was the name of child #7, it is Jesselda and seemingly it was adopted by an Auntie and now lives in the States. This was most interesting, for one thing I don’t believe it. When I suggested to Wendy that she sign the baby over to the DSWD so he too could have a chance for adoption her answer was that if the baby was with me she could come and see it. This doesn’t make any sense as Wendy has only been to the farm three times in 6 months to see the baby and she only lives a couple of hundred yards from here. We have even seen her walk past the farm on her way to swim at the waterfall. On the times she did come it was not but for a few minutes and not on the scheduled day.
I was truly heartsick to see the baby go out but at this moment I cannot handle much more than I am doing. This very morning I was going through toys that would no longer be needed by the children and getting them ready to give to Albert. Too much going on….
Wendy’s job is in Calapandian, she is a dancer in Heads ‘n’ Tails. This means she is a bar girl in one of the worst places around.
So, this was the diary and additional photographs that was given to the Prosecutor when I was in the 164 Detention Center in Barrio Barretto. The charges were for Kidnap and Illegal Detention and my children were the Plaintiffs. One of many mistakes in those charges was for Jhon Paul to be one of the Plaintiffs, he had been returned in 2012 as these pictures show. The baby I was taking care of was Peter Nicholas another sweet baby.
When I count my Blessings all I can think is how fortunate I was, to be able to access this information from the hard drive that was downloaded to my attorney’s computer. Without this information I would have never been allowed out on bail.
Cullen would have silenced me forever but with this website I cannot be silenced. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for everyone and though I can’t say as I like His plan for me, at this moment, I believe that I am supposed to save other children. Children who are caught up by Cullen in his quest for glory and the funds that come with it.
Nemo me impune lacessit