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Atty. Renato Zosimo B. Evangelista: The First Mangyan Lawyer

Atty. Renato Zosimo B. Evangelista

May 25, 2001, the day when Renato Zosimo B. Evangelista became the first Mangyan Lawyer.  His life journey was not easy as a child he was bullied by his classmates in Holy Infant Academy in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro. They would tease him about wearing a bahag and told him to go back to where he came from. Harsh words didn’t keep Renato from working hard to reach his dreams, instead he used it to his own advantage, and it was his drive to do good so that he can prove to everyone that a Mangyan could excel too.

 He was born out of an intermarriage that is considered as a taboo, his mother who is the first Mangyan Elementary School Teacher, was brought up by Roman Catholic Missionaries fell in love with a Sacristan Mayor.  His father left them before he was born so he knew little about him.   

The Mangyan community was perceived as intellectually challenged beings and were often discriminated even by fellow Filipinos. He grew up fighting for many things, food, dignity, and especially respect. This pushed him to do well and study law to prove to those that looked down on him that he should be treated equally. He endured walking for hours just to attend high school and out of the hundred that started; he was one of the 20 who eventually graduated from high school.  

 He attended his first two years of college in the Divine Word College in Calapan before he moved to Manuel Luis Quezon University (MLQU) in Quiapo. His education was supported by the same missionaries who took care of his mother. He valued education and wanted to prove to everyone that he can make history so he wrote to different organizations to “be a part of history” by supporting his dream of being the first Mangyan lawyer.

Receiving his college diploma during the 2000 MLQU commencement exercises, he raised the hopes and dreams of his fellow Mangyans and having his grandparents in the audience wearing their traditional bahag made it extra special.  He continued his studies to grab a master’s degree in the United Kingdom and graduated 2005. Up to this day, even if he is based in Manila Attorney Renato Zosimo B. Evangelista will never forget his Mangyan heritage and plans to eventually go back to the mountains of Mindoro.

Source:

ORDENES-CASCOLAN, L. (2007). Lawyer from the mountain. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Retrieved from http://pcij.org/stories/lawyer-from-the-mountain/

http://philippinelaw.info/filipino-lawyers-directory/renato-zosimo-b-evangelista

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