CEBU CITY Philippines -- The death of Florencio Marimon Sr., the ship captain of the ill-fated MV Princess of the Stars, was confirmed Wednesday by the Disaster Victim Identification-National Bureau of Investigation (DVI-NBI).
The name of Marimon was number 10 among 18 MV Princess of the Stars passengers and crew that were identified through DNA testing and whose names were released on Wednesday by the DVI-NBI.
DVI-NBI is a body created jointly by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the International Police Organization (Interpol) and the NBI to identify hundreds of decomposed remains found in waters off Romblon, where the vessel sank on June 21. The remains were brought to Cebu for preservation and placed at a refrigerated morgue at the Cebu Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.
Aside from releasing the list, Interpol and NBI officials, including Dr. Renato Bautista, the DVI-NBI officer-in-charge, have declined to issue a statement.
No one would officially say when the body of Marimon was brought to Cebu but a source at Sulpicio Lines Inc. (SLI), which owned the ill-fated vessel, said they believed that the skipper’s remains were among the bodies recovered from the capsized ship and in the later batches of decomposed bodies brought to Cebu sometime in July.
The 18 names brought to 88 the total number of bodies identified through DNA matching and whose remains were already turned over to their families, according to information contained in the DVI-NBI list released Wednesday.
Marimon's family was reportedly informed of his positive identification last Sunday but the family requested that it be kept from media so they could hold a private wake and burial.
Marimon's remains was laid to rest at the Pardo Public Cemetery in Cebu City at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, but his family, which sought and was given police security, kept the burial off limits to media and non-family members because of the possibility that angry relatives of the victims of MV Princess of the Stars would storm the burial rite, according to cemetery guard Godofredo Abistado.
The family of Marimon had refused interviews in the wake of rumors that the ship captain was just hiding and after the Board of Marine Inquiry (BMI) looking into the MV Princess of the Stars mishap said that the skipper was largely to be blamed for the sea tragedy.
Abistado said Marimon’s widow and son made an arrangement on Tuesday morning for the burial of Marimon's remains at the cemetery.
The family paid P6,000 for Marimon's niche at the cemetery.
"She (Marimon’s wife) kept on crying. She kept on reminding us not to tell anyone that they were burying her husband here. But we cannot keep quiet because many already knew that he was to be buried here," Abistado said in Cebuano.
Abistado said the crowd who joined the funeral reached at least 100.
Being a public cemetery, Abistado said, he could not prevent other people from entering the cemetery, prompting the family to ask for police security.
Three policemen from Pardo Police Station were sent to secure the burial rite.
Police Officer 3 Richard Tagadi-ad said the family of Marimon directly asked for police security from Cebu City Police Office headquarter, which directed the Pardo Police station to send policemen there.
Security was also strict at the Divine Mercy Chapel at the Sacred Heart Church along D. Jakosalem Street here, where Marimon's wake was held.
A staff of the Sacred Heart Church confirmed that the Requiem Mass was held at 1 p.m. inside the chapel, but only family members and selected friends were allowed inside.
The staff said the family even brought their own priest to officiate the Mass before bringing the coffin to the cemetery.
An official close to the DVI-NBI, who refused to be identified for not being authorized to speak about the DNA finding, said the accuracy rate for the DNA test done on Marimon was 99.9 percent.
The source said two of Marimon's close relatives, including his son, submitted blood samples, which were compared to the femur (long bone) of the victim's remains.
According to the source, the femur is usually the sample taken from the body when fingerprints are no longer available, especially if the body is already in an advanced state of decomposition.
The DNA taken from the femur of Marimon matched with the DNA taken from the blood samples from his kin.
All DNA samples are properly numbered and should correspond with the number given to each body in a sealed coffin stored at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.
The family of Marimon was given the sealed coffin that contained the number representing the matched DNA samples. The family was also no longer allowed to open the coffin because of the condition of the captain’s body, the source said.(Inquirer.net)