Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on Friday ordered the arrest of funeral home staff involved in an alleged extortion incident and directed the inspection of other funeral parlors in the city.
In a Facebook Live video, Moreno presented a family who allegedly had such an experience: a funeral parlor demanded P360,000 in various fees for the release of the body of their loved one.
The man was known to have drowned.
“Kaso itong mga pamilya na ito nawalan na ng mahal sa buhay, siya namang tinake advantage ang kanilang kahinaan,” the mayor said. “Buti na lang desidido ang pamilya na ito to put an end to this.”
(This family lost a loved one. And they were taken advantage of amid their grief. It’s a good thing the family is helping to put an end to this.)
Moreno also presented two funeral parlor workers involved in the alleged extortion incident.
Addressing the funeral parlor owners, he said angrily, “Kayo naman mahulog sa dagat. Hindi kayo nakita. Mahirap kayo. I-hostage ko rin ang bangkay?”
(What if you also drown at sea. You weren’t seen for days. You are poor and then someone will hostage the dead body?)
Moreno said the funeral parlor owner probably heard that the dead man’s company was paying his family P500,000.
The mayor also announced he would order the investigation and closure of all funeral homes facing complaints.
"I am now tasking MHD (Manila Health Department), siyasatin lahat ng punerarya. Lahat ng aabuso at may complaint isara (I am now tasking the MHD to inspect all funeral homes. All those found to have abused and are facing complaints should be closed down)," he said.
He also warned “fly-by-night” funeral homes that do not have facilities, corrupt police officers who work with questionable funeral homes, as well as hospitals who “hostage” patients unable to pay their medical bills.
“Tigilan niyo na 'yan. Susunod kayo na i-entrap namin (Stop that. We will entrap you next time),” he said.