Activists commemorated the first death anniversary of Randy Felix Malayao in Isabela province, calling for justice for the slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant.
In a rally in front of Camp Melchor de la Cruz in Gamu town, headquarters of the 5th Infantry Division (5th ID) of the Philippine Army, various groups under the Makabayan bloc and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan condemned the lack of justice for Malayao.
The soldiers however violently dispersed the rally, hurting protesters holding streamers and forcing them to continue their program in a nearby park.
“The Philippine Army parked a pick-up truck in front and an ambulance behind the rally with horns and sirens blaring to disrupt the program,” a source told Kodao.
Earlier, the activists celebrated a Mass at Malayao’s tomb in a private cemetery in San Pablo, his hometown.
As artists were painting a mural calling for justice for Malayao’s assassination at the wall of the adjacent public cemetery, however, San Pablo mayor Jojo Miro arrived and ordered the activists to stop.
The local government had the mural painted over as soon as the activists left, Makabayan said.
Malayao was killed in his sleep inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya province last January 30, 2019.
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), in a statement Wednesday, January 29, condemned the lack of justice for Malayao, accusing the government of inaction.
UMA pointed out that facial sketches of the gunman and the driver of the getaway vehicle had been released by the Cagayan Valley police as well as another person of interest caught on CCTV taking a photo of Malayao’s bus at a terminal in Quezon City.
“It seems the police and, for that matter, the Philippine government has no more interest in pursuing justice for the killing of Randy. Especially this time, when militarists in the Duterte administration are again spoiling the possible resumption of peace talks between the government and the NDFP,” UMA vice-chairperson Ariel Casilao said.
In a statement last year, Makabayan said it holds the Duterte administration and all his local cohorts along with the 5th ID of the Armed Forces of the Philippines accountable for the death of Malayao.
“When the President declared his open command to his army to eliminate activists, so-called legal fronts of Duterte’s protagonists, the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and alleged NPAs in the city, Duterte signed Malayao’s death order. Immediately after Duterte’s pronouncements of “death wishes” several malicious posters and leaflets branding Malayao as NPA leader in the city together with other known activists were displayed all over the region,” the group said.
Aside from being an NDFP consultant and Negotiating Panel spokesperson, Malayao was Bayan Muna Cagayan Valley regional coordinator at the time of his death. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)