MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Corrections on Friday, November 25, said it buried 60 bodies of persons deprived of liberty (PDL) who died inside the New Bilibid Prison.
“Presently po, out of the 176, bale 70 na nga po ‘yong nailibing namin. 106 na lang po ‘yong nandoon sa Eastern [Funeral Homes], 60 po ‘yong ililibing namin. ‘Yong matitira po is more than 40 po, ‘yon po kung sakali po na may dumating na relative, hingi po kami ng consent na kung pwede po ipa-autopsy,” BuCor Directorate for Health and Welfare Services chief Ma. Cecilia Villanueva said.
(Presently, out of the 176, we already buried 70 bodies. Only 106 are remaining at Eastern Funeral Homes, in which 60 will be buried. The 40 bodies that will remain, in case their relatives arrive, their consent would be asked for the autopsy.)
The BuCor official was referring to the 176 bodies of Bilibid PDLs, who were discovered by the authorities when they were working on the case of Jun Villamor, the alleged middleman in the Percy Lapid case. Villamor was killed inside the national penitentiary and his body was brought to the Eastern Funeral Homes, a Bilibid-accrredited funeral service.
The other 60 bodies will be buried next week, Villanueva said. The cadavers being buried are those who are already mummified, thus, cannot undergo autopsy.
Early in November, Department of Justice (DOJ) Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said at least 120 cadavers will undergo autopsy under the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine. DOJ chief Remulla said the justice department and UP will sign a memorandum of agreement for the autopsy, but he has yet to provide update on the signing.
During the Friday press conference, Villanueva said some of the families of the PDLs opted not to claim the bodies.
“Merong unclaimed may mga dumadating pong relatives, hindi na po talaga kine-claim yung body. Kinukuha na lang po ‘yong death certificate (The reason why we have unclaimed bodies is because relatives who come here opted not to claim the bodies. They just request for the death certificate.),” the BuCor official explained.
Villanueva cited that there were no claimants for the bodies so the bureau was compelled to take custody of the cadavers.
“Ang nagiging problema nga po siguro po kasi ang wala na pong relatives na pumupunta. Either tawid dagat or nag-iba na po ng address. But they are advised of the death of their relatives (There are no relatives who go to claim the bodies, and that’s one of our problems. Either they will travel overseas or they changed address. But they are advised of the death of their relatives),” Villanueva said.
Based on the BuCor rules, families are given up to 90 days to claim the bodies of their dead loved ones. – Rappler.com