Relatives of slain 11-year-old bullying victim cries for justice

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Relatives of slain 11-year-old bullying victim cries for justice

MANGALDAN, Pangasinan, Philippines  —  The family of an 11-year-old boy who died on Jan. 7 after he was reportedly bullied and beaten up by his playmates during a Christmas party here on Dec. 28 is crying for justice.

Roberto Tabuñar, 38, a pedicab driver and father of victim Roger Jackson Tabuñar, said the death of his son is so painful.

He said Roger, also known as “Kalbo” or “Ogeng,” was the eldest of two children, and a quiet boy.

The elder Tabuñar said Roger attended a Christmas party for children in their barangay despite his pleading that he should not go as there were some children who were bullying him.

“I told him to just stay home but he joined his cousins nonetheless who were also to attend the Christmas party at around 9:30 p.m.,” he said.

Three minors allegedly dragged him out of the party venue and beat him up outside.

Tabuñar said Roger kept mum on the details of his bullying, which included being slapped in the face with a slipper that his cousins saw.

Roberto said his son feared that he might anger his tormentors.

But when cornered about what really happened, he allegedly told his grandmother and his father that he was beaten up and identified three of the suspects. 

Tabuñar said he did not report to the barangay or the police what happened because his son asked him not to do so.

Roger developed a fever and felt severe pain on his right leg. He was brought to a local herbalist and his fever was cured but his body pains persisted.

Roger became sleepy and always felt weak.

Roberto said his son’s right leg was swollen and he couldn’t walk.

On Jan. 5, he was brought to the Mangaldan Infirmary. 

On the morning of Jan. 7, he was rushed to the San Carlos Provincial Hospital in San Carlos City, Pangasinan but died at around 1:30 p.m.

Based on the victim’s death certificate signed by Dr. Leo Tongson, his immediate cause of death was septic shock, the antecedent cause was pneumonia and the underlying cause was blunt abdominal trauma.

Tabuñar denied the claim of some neighbors that Roger climbed a mango tree and fell on Jan. 1, which caused injury to his left leg.

“Justice. We want justice for what happened to my son,” Roberto said.

Supt. Jay Baybayan, the town’s police officer-in-charge, said they have coordinated with the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer about this as the persons involved are minors.

“He did not tell it to us. One time, he was pushed into a wall,” said Roger’s grandmother Merly Tabuñar, a street sweeper.

Roger’s mother works in Qatar as a babysitter. She has been separated from Roberto but they are still communicating with each other.

Loida, 46, a vendor whose 10-year-old son was among those accused, denied the allegations of the victim’s family.

“They were only together during the party for a dance but there was no fight between them,” Naraja said.

She said her son and Roger were classmates and were often went to school together.

Jane, 28, sister of one of the suspects aged 9, said it hurts them that their brother is being implicated in the incident.

She said they only learned about the allegation against her brother through gossip in the community.

Myra, mother of another suspect aged 11, said her son was also bullied but does not fight back.

She added that based on their neighbor’s statements, Roger was the one physically abused by his father Roberto.

She added that one time, Roger’s mother filed a complaint against the father for allegedly hitting his son.