Aquino, Hontiveros seek probe into PNP, funeral homes conspiracy
MANILA, Philippines – Two minority senators filed separate resolutions calling for a Senate investigation into the alleged "collusion" between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and several funeral parlors.
Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV and Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolutions 328 and 325, respectively, both seeking to investigate excessive fees charged to families of victims of drug-related killings.
In some areas in the metro, Hontiveros said the PNP-Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) tasks PNP-accredited funeral parlors to remove bodies from the crime scene.
She added that since the administration's war on drugs began, these parlors charge P35,000 to P60,000 – sometimes even P95,000 – for a service that normally costs P7,000 to P12,000.
Hontiveros said this adds to the burden of victims' families, who are already suffering from "shock and trauma."
"There is an immediate need to halt these unscrupulous practices and impose proper penalties to erring funeral homes, as well as determine if liability can be attached to the police officers in charge of their accreditation," Hontiveros said in Resolution 325.
Aquino said the Senate should "conduct an inquiry on the alleged violations by some funeral parlors in collusion with law enforcement officers."
Aquino cited an Amnesty International report that said police officers "established a racket with funeral homes, who [sic] reward them for each dead body sent their way."
The senator also cited other news reports, saying funeral parlors give "commissions" to policemen who provide them with information when people have been killed.
"There is a need to determine what measures can be enacted to protect the families of victims of drug-related killings from the practice of charging excessively for funeral expenses to the benefit of corrupt police officers," Aquino said.
Both resolutions have been referred to the Senate committee on trade and commerce, chaired by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, a known ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Almost 9 months since the war on drugs was launched, there have been over 7,000 deaths, both from legitimate police operations and vigilante-style or unexplained killings. – Rappler.com