VILLAGERS stopped five men from burying seven corpses in a public cemetery in Consolacion after they failed to secure a permit from the town’s health office.

Police were called to stop personnel from the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes from continuing with the burial of seven bodies in the Pulpogan Public Cemetery in Barangay Pulpogan around 6 p.m.

Villagers suspected something was amiss because the two marked vehicles of the funeral parlor arrived at dusk, and its personnel pulled out a big wooden crate.

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Villagers also noticed the hole that was dug earlier that afternoon was wider and longer than the usual grave.

The action at the cemetery caught the attention of Barangay Councilors Nimfa Goc-ong and Danilo Bacalso, who were at the nearby Pulpogan National High School.

SPO4 Joseph Yongco, desk officer of the Consolacion Police Station, told Sun.Star Cebu the personnel from the funeral parlor showed them a permit, but it was issued by the Cebu City Government, not Consolacion.

He said the permit was dated August 2009.

The seven male corpses, the funeral parlor personnel said, were unclaimed bodies they kept for three to four years.

“Tungod kay gabii na sila ning-abot, duna’y mga pagduda nga gitago-an unta nila ug lubong,” Yongco said.

Yongco said their officials don’t mind having the bodies buried in the cemetery, as long as there are proper permits.

But since the funeral parlor personnel failed to present any, they demanded that the funeral parlor remove the bodies.

By the time the attention of authorities was called, the wooden crate had been lowered into the hole. The personnel were about to cover it up with soil when they were stopped.

An official from the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes Inc. (CFHI) confirmed they will bury the seven unclaimed bodies in Pulpogan, Consolacion, once the requirements are completed.

“We are professional in dealing with this kind of case. These bodies were stored for a long time in the funeral parlor. And we take due responsibility to give these bodies a proper burial,” said Kate Dychangco- Anzani, CFHI vice-president.

Anzani said they asked a liaison officer to handle the documents, but ordered the bodies returned to the funeral home when they were told some documents were lacking.

She said they are still waiting for the clearance from the barangay so they could push through with the burial.

“Funeral homes like us have due responsibility over these bodies and we are required to wait for a certain time for these bodies to be claimed. However, if they stay unclaimed, we take the responsibility of burying them ourselves at our cost,” she said.

She said the bodies were properly embalmed and sealed.

Bacalso and Goc-ong, interviewed over radio dyAB, said the villagers felt bad because the cemetery was being used as a dumping ground for unclaimed bodies.

Bacalso said he cautioned the personnel to lock the doors of their vehicles in case angry villagers attack them.

Asked why the caretaker allowed the funeral parlor vehicles into the cemetery, Bacalso said he probably didn’t think something was wrong.

The personnel were taken to the police station for questioning. They were later released after they promised to remove the crate from the cemetery.

The crate was finally removed at midnight. (With KOC)