Slain Ati leader laid to rest
MANILA, Philippines - Dexter Condez, a spokesperson of the Ati community in Boracay, was laid to rest Saturday as members of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (Bato) called for justice for their 26-year-old leader.
Condez was shot dead last February 22 in Sitio Lugutan, Barangay Manoc Manoc in Malay, Aklan.
Authorities suspect that a dispute between the Ati community and a resort in Boracay was the reason behind Condez’s slay.
Bato members were emotional during the mass for Condez, which was attended by Aklan priests, and representatives from the Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Communities and the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
Viel Aquino of the Assisi Foundation and sister of President Benigno Aquino III also attended the mass.
“Ang laki ng panghihinayang, dahil napakabata at ang ganda-ganda ng kinabukasan dahil magaling na leader,” said Aquino.
Pablito Gonzales of the Episocopal Commission on Indigenous Communities said: “We strongly condemn the murder of this young leader and we are one with the family and the Ati community in seeking for justice.”
The Ati community, many of whom admired Condez for his leadership, honored him with a song after the funeral procession.
“Sa paglaban na iyon, hindi namin akalain buhay niya pala ang kapalit,” said Evangeline Tambo-on. “Kasi siya palagi ‘yung humahanap at nag-kakausap sa mga taong pumupunta sa amin para kami ay guluhin.”
Meanwhile, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Episcopal Commission for Indigenous Communities and the Assisi Foundation vowed to help in the investigations.
“Kung akala nila wala ng ang suporta ng government sa Ati, nagkakamali sila. Dodoble pa, ti-triple pa ang suporta namin sa Ati community dito sa Boracay,” said Joel Rocamora of the National Anti-Poverty Commission.
The J King and Sons Co., who employ the primary suspect in Condez’s shooting, has already denied allegations that they had something to do with the Ati leader’s death. – Report from Bea Zaragosa, ABS-CBN News Iloilo