Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III wants hospitals, medical clinics, funeral parlors, morgues and other similar facilities barred from withholding Muslim cadavers over unpaid bills and other fees.
Pimentel filed Senate Bill 2160, seeking to prohibit the withholding of Muslim cadavers in hospitals and funeral homes.
In filing the measure, the lawmaker said he was seeking to recognize the right of the Muslims to bury their dead in accordance with their religious customs and beliefs, noting that their burial rites are done within a 24-hour period.
Under the bill, hospitals, clinics, funeral parlors, morgues or similar facilities shall release the cadaver of a Muslim to his or her relatives for burial within 24 hours from death.
Relatives shall give promissory note for their unpaid obligation. They could secure a guarantee letter from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System or Philippine Health Insurance Corp. if the deceased was a member of the aforementioned institutions.
For indigent deceased, a promissory note could also be secured from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The bill also proposed to require concerned institutions to immediately issue death certificate and other documents required for claiming social security.
An officer or employee of the hospital, clinic, funeral parlor, morgue or similar facilities who violates the provision of the proposed law shall be penalized with a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months or both at the discretion of the court.