Cebu News

Ex-NBI medico legal officer sues City Health officers

Rene U. Borromeo ug Mylen Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - A doctor, who used to work as medico-legal officer for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and is now working as retainer doctor for various funeral parlors, sued the City Health Officials for refusing to honor his signature on death certificates.

Dr. Gil Macato was prompted to file a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) and Cebu City Prosecutors Office after City Health Office cadaver section head Dr. Eliseo Virtucio refused since last year to accept death certificates signed by him.

There were instances that Virtucio accepted the death certificates for regis tration, but, Macato claimed, Virtucio told the liaison officers of funeral parlors not to get Macato next time.

Aside from Virtucio, Macato also filed criminal and administrative complaints against Cebu City Health Officer Stella Ygoña and PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Service (CLS)-7 Dr. Nestor Sator.

Ygoña was included being the immediate superior who “failed” to stop Virtucio’s alleged “violations.”

Sator, meanwhile, was implicated for “doing nothing” about the matter during a meeting with the City Health Officers, Sator and funeral parlor representatives.

But Sator said, “I only responded to the invitation of Vitrucio.” He was surprised why he was implicated when he did not do anything and this matter concerns decisions of the City Health Office.

Macato filed complaints for unjust vexation and violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Macato’s counsel, lawyer Wendell Quiban, explained that the  problem started after Dr. Evelyn Villamor retired from the government service as head of the City Health’s cadaver section. Macato claimed that Villamor always accepted all the death certificates that he prepared when these were submitted.

 But when Virtucio assumed as head of the cadaver section, the latter started questioning his authority to issue death certificates unless if he personally attended to those persons before they died.

“Ang pirmahan nga death certificates ni Dr. Macato kadto ra man sa mga tawo nga patay na nga wala maatiman og doktor nga serbisyohan na lang sa punerarya,” Quiban told The FREEMAN. (Dr. Macato signed only the death certificates of people who died without doctors attending to them.)

Macato became a doctor in 1994 and during his almost 10 years as NBI-7 medico-legal officer he conducted autopsy on about 5,000 corpses and had appeared in court trials.

 After he resigned from the government service, Macato was hired by several funeral parlors to prepare the death certificates of the persons that they have served. The personnel of different funeral parlors said Virtucio always questioned the death certificates prepared by Macato.

Macato sensed something unusual after the personnel of the funeral parlors informed him that Virtucio had offered his services to their firms, even giving them his contact numbers and the hours that he is available.

Virtucio reportedly told the representatives of the funeral parlors during their meeting that Macato’s findings of deaths were inaccurate and he is not qualified to sign these. Virtucio allegedly told the liaison officers of funeral parlors that he will not accept death certificates signed by Macato.

Virtucio denied Macato’s claims.

“Mopirma man ko,” said Virtucio. (I do sign them.)

Also, he added, “Trabaho lang walang personalan. In fact, mo extend gani ko ug services sa mga namatyan.” (I also offer death services.)

But Virtucio said there was an instance that a death certificate was referred by him to Sator because he observed that Macato committed a mistake on his certification.

Macato accused the three doctors of violating doctors’ oath that is why a case was filed before the PRC where Macato sought for the revocation of the licenses of the three.

Vitrucio and Sator said they will answer the charges. Ygoña could not be contacted. — /JPM (FREEMAN)

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