March 13, 2017
HONTIVEROS SEEKS PROBE ON FUNERAL PARLORS RAKING IN HUGE PROFITS FROM EJKs
"Twice the victim."
This is how Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros described many of the victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) whose families were charged by funeral homes with exorbitant fees for funeral and burial services.
Senate Resolution No. 325 filed by Hontiveros on Monday called for a Senate inquiry on the alleged exorbitant charges imposed by government-sanctioned funeral homes on victims of EJKs.
The senator said that there is an immediate need to impose proper penalties and/or halt the funeral parlors' alleged unscrupulous practices, as well as determine if liability can be attached to the police officers in charge of their accreditation.
According to the reports received by Hontiveros' office, it has been observed in many communities after the government declared a violent war on drugs, funeral homes accredited by the Philippine National Police- Scene of the Crime Operatives (PNP-SOCO) charge as much as P 35,000 to P 60,000, sometimes even amounting to as much as P 95,000 -- several times for funeral and burial services, more than the previous rates of P 7,000 to P 12,000.
Hontiveros said that due to the inability of many families to retrieve their loved ones from the said funeral homes, many bodies have been left in piles in unsanitary and demeaning conditions, posing health and sanitation risks.
"This is morally reprehensible. No one should charge exorbitant fees and rake in super profits from the suffering and tragedy of poor and helpless people, particularly those who were killed by extrajudicial killers. The victims of the families affected by these ruthless killings are already suffering from shock and trauma, yet they are made to deal with the stress of cobbling together the funds necessary to provide a decent burial for their loved ones," Hontiveros added.
Since the start of the government's war on drugs, several funeral services have been involved in controversial cases. It was reported that the remains of Jee Ick Joo, a Korean national who was allegedly kidnapped and killed by rogue police officers, were brought to a funeral home where they were cremated. The ashes were allegedly flushed into the funeral parlor's toilet bowl.
Last year, 250 unclaimed bodies were recovered from a funeral home that had not complied with the government's sanitation code and was operating without the required business permits for the last three years. According to residents, bodies from the Manila Police district (MPD) were often seen delivered to the funeral home.
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