Mom sues docs, funeral execs over removal of son’s eyes sans her nodBy Niña Calleja
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The mother of Jason Infante, the 18-year-old Sanggunian Kabataan chairman who was stabbed dead in Makati City while patrolling the streets on August 12, haled to court the officers of the Eye Bank Foundation, the owners of the funeral parlor Funeraria Filipinas and some embalmers.
Dionisia Nueno Infante on Tuesday lodged a complaint for qualified theft in the Makati Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday against a total of 17 people who she said were behind the extraction of her son’s eyes without her consent.
Her lawyer Claire Castro described the complaint as a “test case for theft involving body parts” because of its “certain uniqueness.”
Named as respondents were Eye Bank’s president and chairperson Ma. Dominga Padilla, vice president Dr. Jacinto U. Dy-Liaco, secretary Dr. Leo D.P. Cubillan, treasurer Dr. Bernita C. Navarro, and board members Dr. Victor Jose L. Caparas, Dr. Ruben Lim Bon Siong, Dr. Prospero C. Tuano, Dr. Victor B. Lopez, Dr. Carlos G. Naval, Dr. Reynaldo E. Santos, Dr. Noel Rene Nieva, manager Ellen Lagan and Yves Pabillano, the ophthalmic technician who removed Infante’s eyes.
Also sued were Funeraria Filipinas owners Erlinda Lacsamana and Teresita Wenceslao, and embalmers Dindo de la Cruz and Jonathan Manilapula.
“They all acted in conspiracy to carry out the removal of the corneas,” Castro told reporters. “Under the law, the human body is not a property. But once dead, it becomes a possession which belongs to the nearest family member—in this case, the mother.”
Castro said Infante entrusted her son’s body to the people at the funeral parlor, believing that it would be handled properly. The foundation’s staff members, however, removed Jason’s eyes without the consent of the Infantes who were then just outside the funeral parlor waiting for the embalming to be finished.
On August 12, Jason Infante, the SK chairman of Barangay (village) Valenzuela in Makati City, was on security patrol with two other barangay officials when they encountered a man and a woman who were drinking and smoking out in the street at 2 a.m.
The Makati police said the three reminded the couple about a barangay ordinance against drinking in public areas, but that the man—John Paul Comora, 21—attacked the three officials with a knife, killing Jason.
Dionisia Infante only learned that Jason’s eyes were missing during the wake at the Loyola Chapels in Makati, when she noticed that his face looked different.
Lawyer Castro said even the medico legal officer concerned, Voltaire Nulud, had admitted in an incident report that the corneas were removed without his consent.
“They did it surreptitiously. But for what?” she said.
Eye Bank Foundation chairperson Padilla earlier apologized to the Infantes and assured them that an internal investigation would be conducted on the matter.