A United Church of Christ in the Philippines member, Rabenio Sungit, another victim of extra-judicial killing
Victim: RABENIO SUNGIT, 44 years old. A resident of
Ladayon, Soangan, Quezon, Palawan. A husband of Trinidad C. Sungit with
nine (9) children. A brother of Avenio Sungit , a victim
of extra-judicial killing in 2005. An active
lay leader of Tagusao Outreach Congregation
of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Ladayon Saongan, Quezon
Palawan. He was an interpreter of the
Pelaw’an tribe. A
leader of the indigenous group PAGSAMBATAN (Pagkakaisa ng mga Katutubo)
in Palawan. A member of the sectoral
group of farmers, workers
and urban poor ANAKPAWIS.
Date of Incident: September 5, 2011 at around 1:30pm
Place of Incident: Public Market along Pagayona Street, Municipality of Quezon, Palawan Province
Perpetrators: Unidentified Two
motorcycle-riding men wearing bonnet
Vehicle: 125 CC Red XRM Honda motorcycle
.45 caliber Pistol
On September 5, 2011 at around 1:30pm, Rabenio Sungit was shot dead by
unidentified motorcycle riding man wearing bonnet using a .45 caliber pistol in
the public market along Pagayona Street,
Municipality of Quezon, Palawan Province. Rabinio was with his wife, Trinidad and son
Rocky when the incident happened.
According to Trinidad, earlier that day, her family together with Rabenio
and the children of Avenio “Abe” Sungit, (Rabenio’s brother) gathered at the
UCCP local church in Quezon to receive the support from the UCCP national
office for the children of the Abe Sungit. After the said meeting they went to
the market to buy some goods for the family.
Trinidad, who was not far from Rabenio heard two gunshots and in
an instant saw her husband fall to the ground.
Trinidad saw the long haired triggerman hurriedly left the scene
immediately using a motorcycle driven by another person. According to Rocky, he saw the perpetrators
fled toward the North.
Prior to the incident, Rabenio attended a Basic Human Rights
Orientation Seminar in Puerto Princesa, Palawan organized by the UCCP South
Trinidad and Winio (Rabenio’s brother) said that when Rabenio
was still alive, they were frequently visited by elements from the Philippine Marines.
Likewise, Rolbing, a nephew of Rabenio and chieftain of the Pelaw’an tribe,
believed to be an informer of the military, was noticed of always inquiring
about the latter’s whereabouts.
Members of the family and the
whole bereaved Pelaw’an indigenous tribal communities are in query and awe on
who are the perpetrators of Rabenio’s killing and what are the motives behind
it. According to them, the victim was known to be a simple and gentle person.
He doesn’t engage in vices like liquor drinking and gambling, but instead
focused his energies on working daily to make ends meet for his family. He was
a kind, just and a respected figure- he was a leader of their community who stood
up in defense of people’s rights. He championed the indigenous rights for
ancestral lands against encroachments of large scale mining companies and other
Families and friends are further
disturbed and angered by the incident as this is not the first to happen in
their family and tribal community. Rabenio’s elder brother, Abe Sungit, one of
the Pelaw’an leaders, a known staunch opposition and organizer against
destructive mining operations and human rights violations, was also a victim of
extrajudicial killing. Their steadfast and active involvement in just social
causes for their rights as indigenous peoples solicited ill-will from the
military who tagged them as “leftists” or “communists”. Abe Sungit was shot
dead also by unidentified motorcycle-riding men in 2005.