Latest Stories

Cebu cop settles for a smile in returning money he found


ROLE MODEL SPO2 Isagani Ceniza of the Cebu City Public Safety Company turns over to Cebu City Police Office the more than US $2,093, jewelry and other personal belongings that he found. CEBU DAILY NEWS / CHRISTINE EMILY PANTALEON

CEBU CITY – He could have kept the money for himself and nobody would have known.

But Senior Police Officer 2 Isagani Ceniza was not that kind of a person. He returned a belt bag containing almost 100,000 in dollar and peso bills as well as jewelry left by a balikbayan inside a taxicab his wife had hailed after shopping for groceries.

He also turned down the reward money offered to him by the bag’s owner, Erlinda Fleming, 63, more so on learning that she had returned to Cebu from the United States because her daughter had been diagnosed with cancer.

“It would be better if she would use the money for her daughter’s treatment,” Ceniza said. “A smile is enough reward for me.”

Senior Superintendent Noli Romana, chief of the Cebu City police, said Ceniza’s honesty would encourage others to return things they find to their rightful owners.

Fleming, who lived in Alaska, forgot the belt bag in a taxicab that she took in downtown Cebu City in the afternoon of September 13.  Ceniza’s wife, Maria Gina, took the same cab on Magallanes Street on her way home after buying groceries.

Ceniza, who had been waiting at home for his wife, helped take the groceries out of the cab when he noticed the belt bag on the floor. When the driver, Noel Eraña, said the bag was not his, Ceniza then opened it and found it contained $2,093 and P8,500 in cash, two gold rings, a pair of earrings and Fleming’s passport.

Ceniza then decided to turn over the belt bag with its contents to the Fuente police station on Osmeña Boulevard in Cebu City and called up radio station dyAB for a public service announcement about the belt bag found inside the taxicab. Other radio stations picked it up until the message eventually reached Fleming.

On September 17, she went to the Fuente police station to claim the belt bag and meet Ceniza.

She commended the police officer for his honesty and tried to give him some money as finder’s reward, but he would have none of it.

Fleming said she arrived in Cebu on September 10 to attend to her eldest daughter, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was to undergo chemotheraphy.

After losing the bag, she said she was not worried at all and was confident she would get it back.

According to Ceniza, the smile on Fleming’s face on seeing her lost bag was reward enough for him, more so when he learned that the money was intended to pay for the chemotherapy of her daughter.

A born-again Christian and a father of two daughters aged 23 and 19, Ceniza said he returned the money because it was not his to keep.

“So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cebu , honest cop , honesty , Police

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  2. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  5. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  6. Massive infra spending set
  7. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  8. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  9. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Russia, West reach deal on Ukraine crisis but Obama cautious
  • Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  • Gunmen kill 20 at Sudan UN base–US envoy
  • S. Korea ferry rescue stalls as anger spreads
  • Sub dives deeper in hunt for missing MH370
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Business

  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge
  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace