By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The last three posts on his social media account were about the Jolo bombing, the Manila bay clean-up and press freedom, six hours before he was cowardly killed in his sleep.
Randy Malayao, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was on his way home to Isabela and was asleep on the bus when it parked for a break on the trip near the CCQ restaurant at Aritao in Nueva Vizcaya. The gunman “boarded the bus and shot him at around 2:30 AM today, January 30,” the Aritao police spot report said.
The police report added that after shooting Malayao twice, the gunman walked out of the bus and boarded a waiting motorcycle and sped away with his companion.
Malayao was on his way home to San Pablo, Isabela.
He participated in the formal peace negotiations in Europe as a consultant from Cagayan Valley. He also acted as one of the spokespersons of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in Europe.
Abroad and in the Philippines, Malayao represented the NDFP in peace forums, along with Government of the Republic of the Philippines negotiators such as Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Atty. Angela Librado Trinidad and others.
Unlike most of the other NDFP peace consultants, Malayao had no criminal charges before government courts, which allowed him to move freely around the country to attend peace-related activities.
Malayao was also a former political prisoner who was abducted and heavily tortured under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. He spent more than four years in different jails in Cagayan and Isabela provinces and was freed after he was acquitted of all charges against him.
Labor Secretary Sylvestre Bello, the chair of the government’s negotiating panel, served as his one-time legal counsel.
His social media account is now flooded with statements of condemnation of his murder and grief for his untimely passing from friends, colleagues and various organizations.
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, a national alliance of human rights defenders holds the Duterte administration accountable for Malayao’s death.
“If this is an indication of what is to come, then anyone from the communities, the ranks of human rights and peace advocates, and the poor and marginalized sectors are all at an even greater risk. The Duterte regime’s kill, kill, kill program under ruthless campaigns have resulted in cold-blooded, cowardly killings that target individuals who have given their lives to the pursuit of justice, peace, and defense of people’s rights,” Palabay said .
“We are extremely enraged at the extent of which this government can outrightly violate our rights. The Duterte regime and its legion of ruthless murderers have sunk to an all-time low, into a bottomless pit of dastardly crimes that can only be masterminded and executed by the most brutal and cruel butchers,” She added.
Salvador Pueblo of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Cagayan Valley condemns the murder of NDF Consultant Randy Malayao and accused the 5th ID of the Philippine Army to be behind the sinister act.
Pueblo said Malayao’s death is the latest among the fascist US-Duterte regime’s attacks against the people, in a desperate and bloody attempt to achieve his forecast that the revolutionary movement can be crushed by the middle of the year.
“At the time of his death, Comrade Felix was covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that stipulates, among others, that consultants like him should not be harmed nor arrested,” Pueblo said.
Pueblo described Malayao as “a humble servant of the masses, who spent 33 years of his life arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people against an unjust ruling system”. He added that Malayao was an exemplary revolutionary, whose favorite motto was “Others First.”
According to the rebel spokes, Malayao lived among the peasants and workers of Cagayan Valley, later serving as the region’s representative to the NDF-GRP Peace Talks, all the while performing other revolutionary duties.
“We call on all justice-loving citizens of the region to join various actions to protest Comrade Felix’s murder and to seek justice for his death and countless other more victims of Duterte and the 5th ID’s bloody war,” Pueblo said.
“It is foolish of the ruling class to expect that it can crush a powerful revolutionary movement by cowardly killing its leaders and members,” Pueblo said.
He said that the deaths of peace defenders like Malayao give inspiration to the movement.
Writer and chef
He was a columnist of the Northern Dispatch Weekly, a regional newspaper covering the Cordillera, Cagayan and Ilocos regions.
In one of his columns, he said that if he was not an activist he would have been a cook, a journalist or a disk jockey.
Malayao earned his Bachelor of Science in Fisheries degree from the University of the Philippines Visayas-Miag-ao in the 1990s. He majored in fish processing technology.
He wrote: “I know the rudiments and advances of fish drying and salting (pagdadaing, pagtutuyo), smoking (pagtitinapa), canning (paglalata ng isda o paggawa ng sardinas), fermenting (pagbuburo), fish sauce and paste making (paggawa ng patis at bagoong). I could also produce a fish net in one sitting. My thesis on surimi (an edible paste of processed meat or seafood such as imitation crabmeat or fish analogs) was funded partially by, yes, the World Bank. Yes, I graduated from college after a long delay in the submission of my thesis, “Accelerated Shelf-life Study of Squid Surimi.”
He also prides himself to be the best pancit Cabagan cook. Pancit Cabagan is a local Cagayan delicacy. He added: “I am master cook of Pancit Cabagan. Friends and fellow activists would always love this northern specialty. I could prepare quickly for a small group, a hundred or even more.”
Malayao also wrote that he enjoys listening to music and welcomes all genres. On top of his list would be classical, jazz, pop jazz, progressive alternative and the 80’s new wave. “But I reserve the classics for solo moments,” he said in his column.
Serving the grassroots
According to the Cagayan Valley chapter of Karapatan, aside from participating in the peace process, Malayao actively participated in forums and gatherings to pursue the agenda for just peace. He was abducted, tortured and charged with trumped up charges in 2008, and was released from prison in 2012. The group added that while in prison, he attended to the needs of detainees and conducted literacy classes among them.
After imprisonment, aside from undertaking his role as a consultant in the peace process, he was an active human rights campaigner in Cagayan Valley, as military operations in the region resulted to various rights violations such as killings, illegal arrests, and forced evacuation of peasants in the provinces. Suspected military agents hounded Malayao and his fellow activists in the region.
Malayao was also among the more than 600 individuals falsely implicated in the proscription petition of the Department of Justice in February 2018.
Karapatan Cagayan Valley added that prior to his murder, Malayao was among those listed in sack streamers and strewn leaflets scattered in public places in Cagayan valley accusing them to be members of the New People’s Army in the urban areas.
His remains will be brought home to San Pablo, Isabela. # nordis.net