Ati tribesmen carry fallen leader to resting place


Ati tribesmen in Boracay and their supporters carry the casket of their fallen leader and spokesman Dexter Condez during his burial Saturday, March 2, 2013 while demanding justice for his death. NESTOR P. BURGOS JR./INQUIRER VISAYAS

BORACAY ISLAND, Aklan  – The sound of budyong (conch shells) blared repeatedly as the white casket on bamboo poles was carried on the shoulders of Ati tribe members along the main road of Boracay.

The budyong call is the traditional way of rallying community members for an urgent gathering or an emergency. Carrying a casket is also the traditional way of burying and honoring tribe members who died.

But on Saturday, the Ati tribe was rallying to bury their fallen leader Dexter Condez.

Condez, spokesman of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization, (Bato) was gunned down on February 22 by an unidentified suspect.

The tribe and other supporters believe his killing was related to disputes over the Ati’s occupation of parts of a 2.1-hectare property in Barangay (village) Manoc-Manoc that was granted to them by the government last year through a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).

Around 1,000 mourners, including around 200 tribe members and their supporters, joined the funeral march from the Holy Rosary Parish Church to the Boracay public cemeter in Barangay Balabag.

Ati children carried placards and flowers and the women tribe members prayed and wept.

“We love you, Kuya Dexter. We will not forget you,” several of their placards read.

The Mass was officiated by Kalibo Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc and around 20 priests of the diocese.

Victoria Eliza “Viel” Aquino-Dee, President Benigno Aquino III’s sister and vice president of the Assisi Foundation, attended the Mass and joined the funeral march along with NAPC Joel Rocammora.

“He was so young and he had a bright future. Those responsible should be caught and punished,” she said in a speech after the Mass.

Tala-oc said the diocese would continue to support the tribe.

“We will journey with you in your struggle for land and in seeking justice. We have a hero in Boracay,” the bishop said in his homily.

He called on police and local official to ensure of the resolution of the case.
Delsa Justo, tribe chieftain, said the killing of Condez has emboldened the tribe members.

“We are like puppies who run away when confronted. But after this, we will not give up even if they kill all of us,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Police have tagged Daniel Celestino, a security guard of the Crown Regency Boracay Resorts chain, in the killing.

But in a press conference after Condez’s burial, lawyers of the hotel denied that the guard and their company were involved in the killing.

“We denounce it. We do not share the evil motive of whoever perpetuated this senseless killing. We know that this guy is innocent,” said lawyer Deolito Alvarez.

“I have nothing to do with the murder and I do know why I am being dragged into this. I was in the security guard’s quarters during the time of the killing,” Celestino told reporters.

Alvarez challenged the witnesses to undergo a lie-detector test to determine the “truth.”

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  • buttones

    RIP- It’s been many years since I was in Boracay as a child- it was a bit of a secret then, and used to be voted number one beach in the world now I think it’s number seven. Odd how ‘developers’ actually destroy? They say that it is being gradually destroyed for tourist pennies now, as inevitably all our aboriginal roots will also be destroyed, a sort of creeping genocide really, we are becoming homogenized- shame really. Palawan is next of course, the last remaining island we have not yet entirely decimated, but we will, given time oh yes we will…

  • davidpantad

    eliminate pork barrel

    8 senators from visayas and 8 senators from mindanao

  • desi derata

    Boracay is not for the moneyed people only. The locals should be given the first chance of improving their lot.

    I want to hear that the perpetrator and the culprit behind this crime are brought to justice. Sana hindi na makatulog ang pumatay sa batang lider na ito.

    • zeroko

      Blame it to the Chinese. They are greedy bunch! The Chinese mining exploration is also the cause of why our indigenous brothers are summarily killed in Mindanao. The Chinese use our Filipino soldiers to kill their fellow brothers. Worst, one of the Mayor in Mindanao, a Chinese, sterilized all the women in a particular indigenous tribe. That tribe can hardly survive at present because their habitat was distroyed by greedy lowlander, and finally given the death verdic when the mining business came to their ancestral home. The mining destroyed everything. No more place to live on. And then the sterilzaton. That stupid Chinese Mayor oath to be hand under the tree and feed him to the ants until he dies. Why would you sterilize a vanishing tribe. AFter you steal their land, now you sterilize them? Stupid Chinese. They are all anti-Filipinos. This is one reason why the Filipinos are made to pay a back breaking taxes so that once they become poor, they will sell their lands to the Chinese. Then our Chinese Dominated Legislative branch will enact a law to legalize the Chinese to own our land. Simple! We  are conquered without firing a single shot.

  • Pedro

    JUSTICE  SHOULD  BE  GIVEN TO THIS FALLEN  LEADER  OF THE ATI  TRIBE !  The DILG and DOJ  should  work  on this  case. . .sino  ba  ang  makikinabang  pag  namatay  sya? Concentrate on that !  Give  reward  money !! para  mahuli  ang  murderer !!

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