No money in dead drug suspects

July 24,2016 - 11:06 PM
Funeral parlor attendants carry the remains of a drug suspect killed in one of the operations in Barangay Talamban last July 7, 2016. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Funeral parlor attendants carry the remains of a drug suspect killed in one of the operations in Barangay Talamban last July 7, 2016. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

First of two parts

The recent killings of suspected drug personalities have kept funeral parlor employees in the cities of Mandaue and Cebu busy the last few days.

But Enrique Lapetaje, billing and collection supervisor for St. Francis Memorial Homes along N. Bacalso Avenue, Cebu City, said there had not been much increase in their revenues because these dead people belonged to poor families who relied on government burial subsidy to make sure that they would be given a decent burial.

Lapetaje said most of their clients even had pending balances of about P3,000, the excess of the P10,000 burial assistance covered by the Cebu City government.

“It cannot be denied that the killings of suspected drug dealers are rampant. But for me, I don’t think it has a significant impact on companies involved in funeral services because quite frankly, these deceased individuals — regardless if they are confirmed as drug dealers or not — came from families who still seek burial assistance from the government,” he added.

The Cosmopolitan Memorial Homes along S.B. Cabahug Street in Mandaue City handled four bodies of suspected drug pushers referred to them from June 30 to July 21.

Abbey Gonzalez, the branch-in-charge, told Cebu Daily News that the relatives of two deceased persons are still complying with the requirements to become a grantee of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) burial assistance while the other two were already given financial aid by the same program.


Drug-related killings

Records show that at least 13 have already been reported dead in drug-related operations by the police in Cebu City from June 30 to July 22.
In Mandaue City, at least four people were already reported dead.

Autopsy

A cadaver must not be touched by anyone, even the embalmers and doctors, unless a death certificate is issued by a health officer.

But those who died in police encounters are treated differently. Not only does it require a death certificate coming from the city health office but also that from medico legal doctors.

Rene Gomez, an embalmer from St. Francis Memorial Homes, said he would normally assist medico-legal officers who conduct autopsy on the cadaver.
An autopsy would normally take a couple of hours to finish depending on the corpse’s condition and would cost at least P8,000.

Gomez, 47, an embalmer for 16 years, said they would treat all medico legal cases as if they were the same, regardless of who and how the cadaver died.

Carlito Tingla, building administrator for St. Francis Memorial Homes, said the bodies made to undergo autopsy would not be preserved unless the autopsy would be completed.

“These bodies are brought here in the morgue right away and medico legal doctors would act upon them immediately to gather evidence before it’s too late. Once the autopsy is done, the doctors will give us the go-signal to embalm the body and give them to their loved ones,” Tingla said in Cebuano.

Medico legal doctors and police officials have the sole authority to choose which funeral parlor will treat the corpse of suspected criminals or victims.

In the case of Super Jepoy Memorial Homes at C. Padilla Street of Barangay Pahina San Nicolas, it was just coincidence when medico legal doctors of Cebu City Medical Center (CCMC) tasked some of their staff to embalm the body of Darius Cuizon.

Cuizon was one of the two men who were killed in a shootout with police in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City last July 12.

Senior Insp. Regino Maramag, chief of police of Mambaling Police Station, earlier said that Cuizon was ranked as a level 2 drug pusher on their drug personalities watch list.

Ruffa Mae Tumulak, one of the funeral parlor’s administrators, said they were on duty at CCMC to accommodate the bodies coming from the hospital.
CCMC observes a rigid and strict schedule on disposing cadavers, she said.

Since its establishment in 2013, it was the first time Super Jepoy Memorial Homes housed and treated the corpse of a suspected drug personality.
“Normally, we only provide funeral services to home deaths and those from the hospitals,” said Tumulak.

The same set of rules in conducting an autopsy at St. Francis Memorial Homes was applied in the company where she works. (To be concluded) / by UP Cebu Intern Morexette Marie Erram

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TAGS: 000 burial assistance, burial assistance, CCMC, Cebu City Medical Center, Department of Social Welfare and Development, financial aid, P10

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