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BORACAY, Philippines – The family of the Ati chieftain who died in a boat collision in Boracay in early April has filed a criminal complaint against the skipper of the speedboat involved in the incident.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Western Visayas assisted the family of the late Ernesto Coching in filing a complaint for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, physical injury, and damage to property against Mansueto Tana, skipper of the Diwata 4 speedboat owned by the Shangri-la Resort and Spa-Boracay, before the Aklan Provincial Prosecutors Office on Tuesday, April 11.
“We are here to ensure that victim Ernesto Coching will obtain justice,” lawyer Hermie John Toledo of NCIP Western Visayas told Rappler in an interview.
Coching was the chieftain of the Malay Ati Tribal Association (MATA) in Barangay Cubay Sur, Malay Aklan. Coching’s fishing companion and son-in-law, Ricky Valencia, survived the incident and served as the primary witness in the case.
Asked if the Coching family was open to an amicable settlement, Toledo said this was not being discussed at the moment. “It will depend on the family once it arises but right now we are here to give justice to Coching,” he said.
Based on the investigation of the Aklan Maritime Police, the speedboat driven by Tana crashed into the fishing boat of Coching but Tana allegedly did not even attempt to rescue Coching and Valencia, and instead left the scene of the incident.
Valencia was rescued while Coching’s body was found in Malay waters on April 8, three days after the incident. That same day, Shangri-la Boracay issued a statement expressing its sympathies to the Coching family, and said it would help them.
“Our priority right now is to continue supporting his next-of-kin, and other individuals and their family members and to assist them in any way we can,” the resort said.
The late Ati leader was active in Malay town as a member of the Tourism Development and Culture and the Arts Council, according to Malay tourism head Felix delos Santos.
“He has demonstrated his commitment to advance their tribe’s general well-being and furtherance. The Local Government Unit of Malay – Municipal Tourism Office is extremely grateful and appreciative of every insight and opportunities you have taken that helped in the preservation, protection and promotion of our local culture as we uphold tourism sustainability in every aspect,” Delos Santos said. – Rappler.com