Waaah, the title sounds like a suspense – thriller movie, hahaha!
These past days, I was on the verge of getting pissed off concerning the details and arrangements of my uncle’s wake and burial.
I have made a previous entry that the members of my dead uncle’s family – father, brother and sisters, etc. – live in Lanao and in Iloilo. Due to this, my aunt and cousins have to contact them repeatedly to relay the date of interment and other details. However, I just don’t get it why my aunt and cousins have to get their consent on the date and the specifics of his burial place. They wanted the wake to last for 12 days due to some reasons (what? even Cory Aquino’s wake is only five days!) Then when my aunt informed them that my uncle will be buried at our local public cemetery, they opposed the idea and said they don’t want their brother lying in a public cemetery and told them to look for a private burial place similar to “Eternal Gardens”.
Since my uncle’s family sent money for his funeral and burial, I understand it’s reasonable that they demand what they want. However, not counting the costs for snacks and other related expenses (which my aunt’s family will be shouldering), the 12-day wake would be physically tiresome for us here, especially for my aunt and cousins. I must repeat, even Cory Aquino will be laid to rest five days after her death. When my aunt told us that my uncle will be buried on August 12 yet, we wailed our protests! This compelled my mother’s oldest sister to call my uncle’s eldest sibling and reason with her politely why this is out of the question. After listening to my aunt, my uncle’s family conceded that we will bury their brother exactly seven days after his death.
On the matter of his burial site, my aunt’s siblings advised her to bury uncle at our local public cemetery and not to tell the siblings about it anymore. My uncle’s family might have bad impression of a public cemetery but here in BXU, our public cemetery is presentable – my grandparents, my uncle and other relatives were all buried there; even well-off Chinese personalities in our city rest there as well. So definitely, my uncle will be buried there. I’m sure once uncle’s family sees the site, they will not notice it is a public cemetery : ) Hence, the money his siblings sent will be used for the beautification of his tomb. If my uncle’s siblings wishes will be followed, their money will only cover the cost of the burial lot in the private cemetery. With him buried in the public cemetery, the same amount of money will go a long way.
With all these brouhahas, I want to insist that only my aunt and her alone can decide what to do with my uncle’s funeral and burial; neither us nor her in-laws have the right to dictate her and impose personal preferences on the matter. This is spelled out in Article 305 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines:
Art. 305. The duty and the right to make arrangements for the funeral of a relative shall be in accordance with the order established for support, under Article 294. In case of descendants of the same degree, or of brothers and sisters, the oldest shall be preferred. In case of ascendants, the paternal shall have a better right.
Article 294 thus states:
Art. 294. The claim for support, when proper and two or more persons are obliged to give it, shall be made in the following order:
- (1) From the spouse;
(2) From the descendants of the nearest degree;(3) From the ascendants, also of the nearest degree;
(4) From the brothers and sisters.
Thus, it is very clear that my aunt, being the surviving spouse, is the sole decision maker on all matters related to my uncle’s dead body. As the law enumerates, in case the deceased no longer have a spouse, it will be his children who have the duty and responsibility to bury him. In the absence of any children, it will be the parents of the deceased who will do so. It is only when the deceased has no spouse, children and parents that his siblings enjoy a say in his funeral.
Other provisions on Funerals under the New Civil Code include:
Art. 306. Every funeral shall be in keeping with the social position of the deceased.
Art. 307. The funeral shall be in accordance with the expressed wishes of the deceased. In the absence of such expression, his religious beliefs or affiliation shall determine the funeral rites. In case of doubt, the form of the funeral shall be decided upon by the person obliged to make arrangements for the same, after consulting the other members of the family.
Art. 308. No human remains shall be retained, interred, disposed of or exhumed without the consent of the persons mentioned in articles 294 and 305.
Art. 309. Any person who shows disrespect to the dead, or wrongfully interferes with a funeral shall be liable to the family of the deceased for damages, material and moral.
Art. 310. The construction of a tombstone or mausoleum shall be deemed a part of the funeral expenses, and shall be chargeable to the conjugal partnership property, if the deceased is one of the spouses.