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Cash bundles left in jeep test store cashier’s honesty

/ 12:35 AM September 25, 2015
APPLE Jean Pineda       NESTOR P. BURGOS JR./INQUIRER VISAYAS

APPLE Jean Pineda NESTOR P. BURGOS JR./INQUIRER VISAYAS

ILOILO CITY—As cashier of a convenience store here, Apple Jean Pineda, handles large amounts of money. But nothing could prepare her more about work values and responsibility than when she found P100,000 in P1,000 bills inside a plastic envelope on the seat of a public jeepney.

“It was the biggest amount of money I ever saw or held,” she said.

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Pineda, 24, acknowledged that the she could have used the money—more than 10 times her monthly pay—for her needs, especially when she had to fix the leaking roof of their house. She did not have second thoughts of returning the money to its owner, though.

“Much as I could use the money, it was not mine and I didn’t work for it. And I thought that someone out there was desperately looking for it,” Pineda said.

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Accompanied by the jeepney driver, Randy Daquinay, the store employee turned over the transparent envelope to GMA Television Network in Jaro District. The cash was later claimed by businesswoman Rodelia Paguntalan and her aide, Mary Joy Calopez, who left the envelope.

Pineda boarded the jeepney plying the Jaro-Liko route on her way home from a night work-shift about 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 13, when she saw the envelope on the seat. She asked the five other passengers if any of them owned it. When no one claimed it, she informed the driver about the find.

The envelope has a name but no contact number. She stayed awhile on the jeepney, hoping that the owner would wait for it along the route. After more than an hour, she and Daquinay decided to bring the money to the television station.

Calopez told Pineda that she was carrying two envelopes on her way to the bank and accidentally left one of these on the seat of the jeepney. “She was crying, pale and profusely thanked me for returning the money,” Pineda said.

The family of Pineda, the youngest of five children, has struggled through financial difficulties. Her late father had solicited bets for the Small Town Lottery while her mother works part-time in an eatery.

She finished high school at Iloilo City National High School, but her family could not afford to send her to college for a four-year course. She instead enrolled in a short-term housekeeping program at St. Therese MTC Colleges and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Before her current work as a cashier, she worked briefly as a nanny and sales clerk for various shops, mostly selling mobile phones and accessories. She still dreams of earning a computer degree in college.

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But she said her family has taught her to be contended with what they have and to

remain honest.

After news of her good deed spread, Pineda has become uncomfortable with the attention she is getting. She feels flattered and grateful whenever she receives the congratulatory greetings.

“I felt happy and proud. People who I do not know, including our customers, congratulate me after they saw me on television,” she said.

City officials have recognized Pineda’s honesty. Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog presented a citation to her in behalf of the city government.

In Barangay Rizal Estanzuela, where she lives, village chief Hector Obligacion paid tribute to Pineda for bringing pride and honor to the community.

Many of those who praised her deed have compared her with corrupt and dishonest

officials. “It’s really up to the person whether to be honest or corrupt. And there will always be honest and trustworthy people,” she said.

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