Press Release
April 6, 2019

Pimentel files bill seeking to prohibit hospitals, funeral parlors from withholding Muslim cadavers

Senator Koko Pimentel III has filed a bill seeking to prohibit hospitals, medical clinics, funeral parlors, morgues and other similar facilities from withholding Muslim cadavers on the grounds of nonpayment of hospital bills, medical expenses or other fees.

According to Pimentel, Muslim burial rites are done within a 24-hour period. The practice, he said, is rooted in the Muslim belief that the soul of the diseased is disturbed if its body is not laid to rest in the ground before the next call of prayer.

He said he filed the bill in recognition of the right of the Muslims to bury their dead in accordance with their religious customs and beliefs.

Under the bill, hospitals, clinics, funeral parlors, morgues or similar facilities shall release the cadaver of a Muslim to his or her relatives for burial within 24 hours from expiration or death upon the execution of a promissory note, secured by either a mortgage or a guarantee of a co-maker to cover the unpaid obligation.

Relatives could secure a guarantee letter from the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) or Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) if the deceased was a member of the afore-mentioned institutions.

In case the deceased was indigent, a promissory note could also be secured from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The corresponding certificate of death and other documents required for claiming social security shall be promptly issued by the concerned institution.

Any officer of employee of the hospital, clinic, funeral parlor, morgue or similar facilities who violates the provision of the Act faces a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months or both at the discretion of the court.

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