Manila funeral home 'takes hostage' dead man's body

MANILA, Philippines – It was a tragedy for the Olegenio family. One of their own, Marvin Olegenio, drowned on Tuesday, September 3, at the San Juan River in Manila.

But their grieving did not stop there.

According to a report from the Manila Polcie District (MPD) released to the media on Friday, September 6, Funeraria Cruz in Manila took Olegenio's body "without permission," then charged his family P360,000 for its cleaning.

Police Major Rosalino Ibay, chief of the MPD's Special Mayor's Reaction Team, said the body was essentially "taken hostage" by the funeral home.

Knowing well that the price was sky-high, the mother of the victim, 58-year-old Mirasol Olegenio, went straight to the cops. The police then cooked up a buy-bust operation. (READ: The cost of dying in Duterte's war on drugs)

On Thursday, September 5, cops posed as payers of the fee, then arrested the manager, Rolando Duran, and the secretary, May Manahan.

"The suspect demanded the complainants with intimidation amounting P360,000 in exchange for release of the cadaver," the police report said.

Both are set to face extortion complaints.

Following the report, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno ordered the Manila Health Department to "crack down" on funerarias that would overcharge already grieving families. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.