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40 unidentified bodies buried in Marawi City


COTABATO CITY – Forty more unidentified cadavers were buried on Thursday at the new cemetery established in Barangay Papandayan in Marawi City.

Volunteers from the public and private sectors organized the mass burial, which was held under Islamic rites, at the Maqbarah Cemetery.

Police and military officials said Thursday’s burial rites followed DNA tests conducted by forensic experts on the bodies, this, for possible cross-matching with specimens submitted by individuals looking for lost kin.

The 40 constitute the latest in four batches of unidentified bodies laid to rest en mass since rescue and retrieval operations commenced in the war-torn city early June.

Before the Lanao del Sur provincial government established the Maqbarah cemetery, the first batch of unidentified fatalities numbering 11 were buried on June 15 at a public graveyard in Iligan City.

There were 27 similarly unidentified corpses were laid to rest under Islamic rites on July 24 at the Maqbarah cemetery, following post-mortem analysis by Scene Of the Crime Operatives (SOCO).

About 27 more cadavers were laid to rest at Maqbarah on Sept. 5.

Meanwhile, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Lanao del Sur chapter yesterday reiterated their demand for copies of the post-mortem reports on the buried cadavers, maintaining it will help ascertain specific instruments that caused the victims’ deaths, lawyer Mino Macalandap, president of the IBP-Lanao del Sur chapter, said.

When sought by reporters to comment on the post-mortem report request, the regional police office for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said in a text message “only the military spokesperson in Marawi is authorized to release info.”

The IBP local chapter and the infant Bagsa Maranaw Congress have offered free legal assistance to civilians interested in obtaining indemnity for their losses in the ongoing crisis.