SAN PABLO, Isabela–They called his name three times at the end of a long roll call. But unlike the others, no “Here I am!” came after “Brod Randy Felix Malayao” was called.
“Brothers in the Beta Sigma Fraternity, I regret to inform you that our brother Randy Felix P. Malayao died last January 30, 2019,” the master of ceremony eventually said.
There were many silent tears as dozens of Beta Sigmans in barong Tagalogs observed a moment of silence for one of its own and among its best and most illustrious. They held a tribute for their fraternity brother at the last night of his wake.
The crowd of hundreds fell silent too, witnessing the ceremony of the first time, as Malayao was the first and only Beta Sigman from his old hometown.
A 73-year old fraternity that counts around 20,000 members throughout the country recruited from almost all major colleges and universities in the Philippines, the group’s name means “brotherhood of scholars.”
Speaker after speaker recalled their encounters with Malayao, one of the Beta Sigmans who was openly and proudly Leftist. They said that even from a group that aspires to represent “the best in men,” Malayao stood out as one of their best.
Former journalist and Beta Sigma national chairperson said they have visited Malayao when he was jailed in Tuguegarao and Ilagan cities but he seldom asked things for himself.
“He always asked for medicines and books for the entire jail population, including cleaning items and livelihood projects,” Paredes said.
Other Beta Sigmans revealed that when Malayao regained his freedom in 2012, the first activities he organized were medical missions for his former jail mates.
The fraternity said that aside from seeking justice on their brother’s murder, they are are planning to launch three projects to honor Malayao in perpetuity.
“First, Beta Sigma will launch ‘Operation Big Brother’ to help marginalized sectors in Cagayan Valley, an idea that came from Brod Randy himself,” former Delfin Albano, Isabela mayor Ed Taccad said.
Taccad added they will institutionalize the Randy Malayao Leadership Award for outstanding high school students as well as seek the declaration of January 30 as Randy Malayao Day throughout Isabela.
“I am a colonel in the Philippine Marines. But I admire Randy for what he stood for,” Taccad said.
“Randy is the Che Guevarra of the Philippines,” he added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)