Atty. Maning Ravanera: Now Has Leaped to the Great Beyond
Atty. Manuel “Maning” Ravanera as CONSCIOUSNESS has now gone to the formless, to the vast spaciousness and stillness and in the loving embrace of the Unseen Being. He left the transient life of form on that fateful day of November 26, 2022, at about 4:30 at dawn suffering from stroke while sleeping after he had visited the wake of his beloved mother, Amada Revilla Ravanera who died a day before. Perhaps, he could not bear the pain of losing his beloved mother “na palangga siya kaayo.” He now joined his beloved Nanay as the coffins of the amazing mother and son could be seen side by side in the funeral parlor of the Divine Shepherd.
In facing threats, Atty. Maning, had always remained his true self, an intrepid warrior, when facing great adversities and even, in that most critical time, when battling death itself.
I remember when he was battling for his dear life, watching him bravely fighting for dear life at the Intensive Care Unit in the CUMC, with a face so full of life and courage, I knew then that just like in so many court “battles” that he fought championing the cause of the environment or in defending the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed, this time, not even death then could prevail over his strong will to live. After twelve long years of being immobilized by that stroke, I could just surmise that he wanted now to join our dear mother in that formless world of consciousness.
All those years when Task Force Macajalar was fighting to save our ecosystems, together, we have faced life-threatening activities during the past decades when we were taking direct actions to protect the remaining dipterocarp forests in the uplands of Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon and Lanao, which were then wantonly being decimated by highly-armed illegal loggers. I remember that when we staged the first human barricade to stop the flow of illegally cut logs in 1991 with some 300 Lumads, farmers and fisherfolk in the highway fronting SEARSOLIN in upper Carmen, the highly armed loggers went to threaten Atty. Maning in his residence at Carmen, this city, brandishing their “starlight” high powered guns but never had they been successful in stopping my brother to continue his legal battle against them.
In 1995, some six thousand farmers, women, fishers and indigenous people came together to have a dialogue with the officials of the DENR to seek redress against the massive destruction of the ecosystems especially against a highly- destructive plant emitting toxic air pollution in Tablon that was causing deaths and diseases among the residents. Exposed to the excruciating heat of the sun for more than five hours, the people were barred from entering DENR’s compound, so Atty. Maning opened the closed gate suddenly prompted the security guard to fire his gun.
Undaunted, Atty. Maning dared the guard to shoot him if such was the order of those whose sworn duty is to protect the environment, yet have miserably failed to do so. Indeed, my brother was willing to give his life, right then and there, just to stop our accelerating drive towards ecological disasters. There is no greater grandeur sight on earth that one environmentalist lawyer willing to give-up his life after hearing the cry of the poor and of Mother Earth to save the billions of species of flora and fauna becoming extinct. As an intrepid lawyer, Atty. Maning was bravely advocating for the rule of law to prevail over the rule of power and money.
That daring action had allowed the people to present their issues against illegal logging, illegal fishing and industrial pollution with all the evidence necessary for legal action. Whether that office has all these years remained apathetic to the pitiful plight of our ecological people is by itself a Res Ipsa Loquitor.
There was nothing more that would get the righteous ire of Atty. Maning than those of law enforcers whose sworn duties are to enforce the law to protect the people and the environment yet would blatantly neglect their duties to protect the interest of influential people or of the power-that-be. He would dare to directly confront these law enforcers for their malfeasance, not minding their threatening acts of shooting him.
The portrait of courage that he had shown all these years for the rule of law to prevail has continued in his firm determination to regain back his health. Be that as it may, it was the family’s firm resolve and those of his friends including those in far- away lands and the thousands of those whose lives he had, at one time or another, touched, to pray, pray and pray without let-up. Together, they have hounded the heaven with prayers. No less than His Eminence, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, S.J., a friend of the family, came to pray and to administer the healing oil and so with a number of priests and Ulamas. Well, for everything there is a reason under heaven. While death has no match against his strong will to live with all the outpourings of prayers that hounded the heaven, Atty. Maning has survived all these years but must now go to the Great Beyond to join his beloved Nanay.
Death has no match against his strong will to live and against the tremendous outpourings of prayers that hounded the heaven. I am so happy to note that while Atty. Maning then was still on wheel chair but he could narrate jokes to entertain those who would come to visit him.
What amazes me no end is when I go around the tribal communities of the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao and after introducing myself as a Ravanera, the Lumad leaders would ask me, how am I related to Atty. Manuel Ravanera? I would ask them why they know my brother? They would joyfully remember Atty. Maning and would narrate on how he had lawyered for them – all for free. Wow I said, that’s my brother. Well, during those years that he was practicing law, he would tell me that out of ten clients, seven are free particularly the IPs, farmers and those coming from the marginalized sectors. I jokingly told him “kawawa naman ang tatlong nagbabayad na may kakayahan, doon siguro na ka charge,” and such joke would be followed by laughter.
You want to know how Atty. Maning had helped the Indigenous Peoples in Valencia, Bukidnon regained their land which had been grabbed by a rich powerful family with the full armed support of Col. Alexander Noble’s Tagbagani Security Group? You can google it or find it in You Tube, entitled, “Chronicle of Land Redeemed!” That’s how great Atty. Maning was defying threats, oozing with courage out of love for the environment and the poor and the oppressed Indigenous Peoples – all for God’s greater glory.
Atty. Maning is now not with us anymore. Oh, so painful. But as consciousness joining the formless in the vast spaciousness and stillness, he will forever be with us. As consciousness, we DO NOT HAVE A LIFE FOR WE ARE LIFE. Atty. Maning, wherever you are, now with us and then with the stars, we love you so much!