Dead bodies of suspected drug traffickers exhumed in the Philippines, families unable to afford funeral lease

The Hague-based International Criminal Court last September authorized an investigation into the deadly repression in the Philippines, saying it had sufficient reason to believe crimes against humanity had been committed.

But he temporarily suspended the investigation after Manila requested a postponement on the grounds that the government was carrying out its own investigation into the alleged abuses.

The ruling was a blow to family members awaiting justice, such as *Maria, 36, whose brother Jacob, 27, was last seen being pulled over by a car police in November 2016 while drunk with his friend Nonoy. Maria’s name has also been changed.

Thinking that he had been arrested for excessive drunkenness, the family tried the following day to find him in the local police stations. They grew concerned when they heard an officer suggest they check a nearby funeral home and later found his body there.

“Jacob was very close to my mother and helped her sell vegetables at the market,” says Maria. “What happened to him was very painful.”

The exhumation of his body when the family could not afford to renew his funeral lease “brought back all the hardships, sadness and shattered dreams of that painful day five years ago”, he said. she declared.

“I don’t know what will happen to his remains. I promised my family that I will continue to fight and stand up for the truth until they get justice for their beloved Jacob,” Maria added.

Father Villanueva said he wanted to help families like Maria’s find peace through their trauma and said he watched them kiss the urn of their deceased relative with a sense of consolation at being at reunited again.

“I wouldn’t call it a beautiful scene, but I would say the healing is happening,” he said.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

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