ILOILO CITY – The late Atty Mario Niel “Bong” San Felix received eulogies of honor through heartfelt messages, songs, and poems from people of various sectors he served as a people’s lawyer for the past four decades.

As a people’s lawyer, Atty. Bong’s contributed to the development of the local laborer’s movement, during an era when a strong labor union movement within worker’s circles around Panay Island emerged. He was known for helping employees from malls and department stores, hotels, hospitals, sugar refinery facilities, and mining companies.

Atty. Bong was one of the founders of the National Union of People’s Lawyers in 2007. It was during this time that he took the cases of political prisoners, one of which is the case of Concha Araneta, an NDF-Panay peace consultant. In leading Araneta’s legal team, Atty. Bong became a key figure in the case’s dismissal resulting in Araneta’s continued service for peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 2017.

For his colleagues, Atty. Bong was known for his humility and determination in serving the less fortunate. Amidst his battle against his illness and the life-threatening state-sponsored red-tagging, he remained steadfast in helping the various sectors that needed his legal assistance. “Attorney Bong left a very high standard for people’s lawyering”, said one of his contemporaries.

“Atty. Bong was a brave lawyer. He was firm and unfazed against big companies as he defended workers being laid off, underpaid, or abused. He stood with them day and night in picket lines as they fought for their right to just wages and decent working conditions,” said NUPL-Panay. “The example of Atty Bong and all the patriotic lawyers before us will strengthen us to continue the fight for justice for victims of repression and be part of the struggle for the complete emancipation of the Filipino people,” the group added.

Attorney Bong will be laid to rest on June 7th in their hometown of Tapaz, Capiz./PT


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