Sometimes life in the Philippines isn’t all sandy beaches and ice-rimmed margaritas.
Sometimes life in the Philippines is deadly.
Following up on the death of Phil Prins in Dumaguete just a month past December comes the news of another foreigner being killed in the Philippines, this time under quite disturbing circumstances. The murders occurred on January 26, 2016, claiming the life of 54 year old French national Jean Marc Messina, his 25 year old Filipina wife, Jewelyn (Badenas) and – most horrific of all – the couple’s 4 year old son, Guiliano. The brutal, execution-style shooting occurred near Poblacion Narra in beautiful Palawan, a chain of islands forming the western edge of the Philippines.
From what has been reported thus far, the three family members’ deceased remains were discovered outside of Narra in a white Nissan SUV that was parked on the side of the national highway. (Narra is approximately 80 kilometers to the south of Puerto Princessa.) After processing the crime scene, Palawan police superintendent Benjamin Acordo, Jr, noted that they were certain foul play was involved as they had “recovered empty shells and slugs inside the vehicle.” Supporting the Superintendent’s statement was the fact that the bodies were riddled with bullets but it is assumed that they didn’t need to report on the obvious. The police also confirmed that the Frenchman was driving the vehicle, his young son was in the passenger seat and his wife was seated in the back of the truck. Weeks after the killing, the police are still in the midst of the investigation, noting that they are “determining the circumstances behind the suspected murder case”.
A “source” from the expatriate community in Puerto Princessa noted that Jean Marc was on his way to Narra to “collect some money.” The source also stated that Jean was very active in the yacht club on the island and a passionate SCUBA diver and environmental activist, concentrating on the preservation of local reefs that were being destroyed by dynamite and cyanide fishing. The latter motive was supported by news that they were also going to Narra to address those pernicious fishing techniques.
Enough information isn’t out as the investigation continues but there is a great deal of conjecture going on among the local expat community. Whatever the reason, I don’t think at this point that anything in the world can justify the killing of a child. Somewhere out there – among the lovely islands of Palawan – is a serious sociopath.
Some activist groups are already clamoring for action, believing that Jean was murdered as a result of his environmentalism. Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (KPNE) notes that Jean would be the fifth environmentalist murdered in the Palwan area. The facts are not all in yet, but it is well known that getting between a man and his dinner table is a very bad thing in the Philippines, with extreme measures sometimes being taken to deal with those opposing certain Filipino fishing and mining techniques
International NGO Global Witness
The NGO Global Witness conducted a study that was published in July of 2014. After collating the data, they determined that the Philippines is the second most dangerous place in the world for environmentalists. And if the knowledge that four activists had already been slain in Palawan in the last decade wasn’t bad enough, Global Witness also noted that 91 environmentalists have been murdered in the Philippines since 2001, an absolutely staggering number. Don’t let up with the nail biting just yet, because except for only a single case, none of those murders have been solved.
Even though the investigation is ongoing and there are very few objective facts available, two basic lessons can be taken away from the gruesome murders of Jean Mark, Jewelyn and Guilliano Messina. First off, whenever large amounts of money are involved, keep your business to yourself and preferably conduct all affairs from within a secure bank. Alternately, always keep in mind that – as we previously noted – getting between people and their sources of income is rarely a good idea, especially in developing nations where fisherman and mining corporations will do just about anything they can to maintain the status quo.
Photo Supplied via – https://www.facebook.com/groups/filamsctymtgplace/