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Teachers receive death threats; suffer red-tagging from educ official

Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) officers revealed receiving death threats through phone calls this morning.

In a statement, ACT in Central Luzon said Raymond Basilo, ACT national secterary general, as well as three members of their regional executive board received separate calls and text messages from a person who alternately introduced himself as Juvy Canete, Henry Pimentel of Davao and Lt Guerrero.

The phone number used to call the victims.

Using mobile phone number 0949-5628576, Canete/Pimentel/Guerrero said he and others have been contracted to kill the teacher leaders.

“May apat na tirador kami na pinadala diyan sa Luzon para ipatumba [ka] at lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya mo,” one of the phone calls said.

ACT said the calls started at nine o‘clock, first to ACT Region III president Romly Clemente.

At 9:34 am, ACT Region III secretary Mathew Gutan received a call  from “Pimentel” who threatened him and his whole family, adding he had an hour to pay P6,000 for each of his family members to be spared.

At 9:47am, the same number called Basilio, but this time identifying himself as Lt. Guerrero, saying, “Handa ka na.”

The last call came at 10:20 to ACT Region III coordinator Aurora Santiago, issuing death threats to her and her family, asking her to give money in order for the “hit” not to take place.

Audio recording of the call to Au Santiago this morning.

ACT said the calls came after retiring Department of Education Region III director Beatriz Torno red-tagged the group, publicly alleging some of ACT members are New People’s Army (NPA) fighters.

Education officer red-tags ACT

In a February 6 forum of the Pampanga Press Club (PPC), Torno said that almost all provinces in Central Luzon are infiltrated by teachers who belong to ACT and are alleged NPA members, the Philippine Star reported

Torno did not say where she got the information nor could she give figures on how many ACT members in her region allegedly belong to the NPA, the report added.

ACT said Torno’s allegations are condemnable.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the act of our DepEd Regional III Director Beatriz Torno for her public statement categorically tagging ACT Region III as being infiltrated by the communist New People’s Army,”  Mathew Guetan Santiago, the group’s regional secretary-general said.

“This statement is highly irresponsible, baseless, and downright malicious! It does not only       malign the good name of our Union but worse, it also puts in danger the life and security of our  members who might be subjected to possible harm for being labelled as NPA members,” he added.

The group said they talked to the official to seek clarification who reportedly denied having uttered derogatory statements against ACT. 

“She also promised to issue a disclaimer through the media but she failed to do so,” ACT said.

ACT said it filed a complaint against Torno with the Ombudsman yesterday using a video recording of her public pronouncement posted on DepEd Region III website.

The group added they aim to make Torno criminally and administratively liable for her irresponsible and false accusation against ACT and its members.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva) 

Journos raise alarm over anonymous drug lists

BACOLOD CITY – The media community in Negros Occidental is up in arms following the circulation since late last week of at least three lists of purported “drug protectors” that included at least 15 of their colleagues.

The journalists said they are worried that the circulation of the anonymous lists could put their colleagues’ lives in danger.

The statement, issued by the Negros Press Club and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines – Bacolod Chapter demanded that “authorities – both law enforcement and the civil government – uphold the rule of law and ensure the safety of all citizens, especially the innocent” by investigating and prosecuting those responsible for creating and spreading the lists.

Aside from the media personalities, the anonymous lists included a party-list congressman, two town mayors, a vice mayor, four councilors, three of them from Bacolod City, several active and retired policemen, and supposed “drug personalities.”

However, in a unity statement, the local media community noted “the inconsistencies and seeming lack of logic in the composition of these lists,” which were basically the same but for some names that were replaced by others.

This, said the statement, indicated that the lists “were drawn up by conflicting parties out to destroy each other while, at the same time, attempting to muddle their tracks by including random names, including our colleagues.”

The lists emerged close to a month after President Rodrigo Duterte, attending a private birthday party in this city, accused the then Bacolod chief of police, Francis Ebreo, and city councilor Ricardo Tan of involvement in drugs.Duterte did not offer proof to back up his allegations.

Ebreo was also sacked from his post. The Negros media statement alluded to this, saying, “We have also seen how even ranking city and law enforcement officials have been arbitrarily accused of involvement in drugs without any valid proof being presented.”

Both Ebreo, who has also been accused in the December ambush of a lawyer whose fiancé was killed, and Tan, who himself survived an ambush, also in December, and has since gone on leave, were also named in the anonymous lists.

“The first of these lists tagged those named as ‘subject for neutralization,’ a euphemism for killings, a serious threat considering that all three include the names of lawyer Rafael Atutubo and SPO (Senior Police Officer) 4 Oscar Exaltado, who were both murdered by still unknown gunmen,” the statement said.

Atutubo was killed last August while Exaltado, deputy chief of a station in Bacolod, was gunned down last month.

The Negros media noted that “even as the war on drugs claimed thousands of lives all over the country, almost all of the victims were deprived of their right to due process, “Bacolod City has relatively been spared the bloodshed – until recently, that is,” the statement added.

The journalists said that the anonymous lists were “unacceptable to us, not only as journalists but as citizens of this country who share and deserve to enjoy the rights guaranteed by our Constitution and the laws of the land.

“No one, and we mean no one, should be subjected to trial by publicity and, worse, punished without being accorded due process,” the groups said. #

‘Che Guevarra of the Philippines’: Beta Sigma vows to keep Randy Malayao’s name alive

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.

Part of the huge crowd who turned up at the tribute to Randy Malayao on the last night of his wake. (Photo by R. Villanueva)

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)

High alert or high insecurity? Police swarm Tuguegarao as activists prepare for Malayao burial

By Tonyo Cruz

TUGUEGARAO CITY–Hundreds of cops and Special Action Force personnel swarmed parts of Tuguegarao City on Wednesday as activists from across Region II started to gather for the burial of slain activist Randy Felix Malayao.

The remains of Malayao — an NDFP peace consultant, regional chair of Bayan Muna and national vice president of the Makabayan coalition — will be buried Thursday at the town cemetery of his native San Pablo, Isabela.

San Pablo is less than 30 minutes away from this regional center.

If the police and military were really innocent in Malayao’s murder, it didn’t look or feel that way.

The excessive police presence in Tuguegarao Wednesday betrays a high sense of insecurity and maybe even guilt.

Initial reports also said police and soldiers blocked several busloads of protesters from several Cagayan towns, as droves sought to join the funeral march for Malayao.

Dozens of police and SAF bearing high-powered weapons were deployed outside and inside the courtyard of the Tuguegarao Cathedral where the activists gathered.

A stone’s throw away, at the former city jail, about 50 police in full anti-riot gear could be seen practicing their moves.

Cops and intelligence officers, Some in plainclothes, followed the rallyists as they marched through downtown Tuguegarao. They brazenly took photos of the activists.

The protesters carried white placards made of rice sacks bearing the words “Hustisya kay Randy Malayao!” and “Stop the killings! Stop the crackdown!”

In a joint statement distributed during the march, Cagayan Valley groups BAYAN and DANGGAYAN accused the notorious Philippine Army 5th Infantry Division in the murder of Malayao.

They said elements of the 5th ID harassed the quick reaction team dispatched by human rights watchdogs at the PNP station in Aritao, the town where Malayao was shot dead while sleeping in a bus en route to Isabela.

Prior to Malayao’s murder, the 5th ID had identified Malayao and other activist leaders as enemies of the state.

The PNP Regional Office 2 recently released CCTV video showing Malayao boarding the bus in Quezon City for his trip back home.

Another video showed two persons mulling around the bus at the stop in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

One of the two persons was later seen boarding the bus while still at the stop. Gunshots could be heard in the video.

Instead of ordering a manhunt and trying to identify the suspects, PNP’s PRO2 has accused the Malayao family of “obstruction of justice” for demanding the return of all of Malayao’s personal belongings seized by the police after the incident.

Without naming names of the suspects, PNP PRO2
spokesman Superintendent Chevalier Iriangan immediately said that “Malayao’s comrades” are the suspects in his killings.

He said that the family should give the PNP all of Malayao’s phones, laptop and iPad.

Malayao had long been tagged by the PNP and the military as a Red leader in Cagayan Valley, culminating in his 2008 abduction in Cainta, Rizal in Manila.

Five days later, the police and military surfaced him in Tuguegarao, detained him and charged him in connection with the death of a former governor.

Malayao successfully defended himself from all the trumped-up cases leveled against him, which led to his freedom.

The Malayao family has rejected police claims that their youngest brother was a corrupt activist who ran away with the movement’s money.

The PNP claimed it could be a motive for Reds to kill him.

Malayao’s elder sister Perla has told media that their family is calling for an impartial and credible investigation. #

Tributes pouring in despite PNP vilification vs Malayao

Tributes to Randy Malayao are still pouring in on the eve of the slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant’s burial in the old town of San Pablo, Isabela, his hometown.

Despite apparent efforts by the Cagayan Valley Philippine National Police to malign him, local and international progressive organizations continue to hail Malayao as a genuine peace worker.

“We got to know Randy during the peace dialogues that took place in Europe and we saw his commitment to the struggle for peace and the rights of the Filipino people,” the Rome-based Italian Migrants Committee said in a statement.

The Italian-Filipino Friendship Committee—likewise based in Rome—also expressed its solidarity with Malayao’s relatives and the NDFP.

“The Committee asks the movements and the anti-imperialist and pacifist Italian parties to support the cause of the NDFP and asks the Italian State to commit itself to a just peace in the Philippines in all the international fora, starting with the European Parliament,” it said in a statement.

OFWs in Belgium held a candle-lighting ceremony in front of the Philippine Embassy to protest the killing of Randy Malayao.

In the Philippines, College Editors Guild of the Philippines alumni said they are proud of Randy who “use(d) his intelligence, political acumen, good character, kindness, humility, wit, and good disposition wherever his commitment brought him.”

“We absolutely admire him as an outstanding propagandist, tireless organizer, and an exceptional builder of consensus. He had this awesome ability to bring people from different background (and even in difficult circumstances) together and forge unity towards a common cause,” the group said.

Makabayan chairperson and senate aspirant Neri Colmenares also heaped praise on Malayao when he visited the fallen Bayan Muna regional coordinator’s wake.

“Randy is a hero of the people who spent his life always working for genuine peace and betterment of the Filipino people,” Colmenares said as he urged the PNP to “stop spreading intrigues against him because they are just exposing their true colors.”

In seeming response to ongoing vilification campaigns by the regional PNP and the other anti-Leftist groups against Malayao, NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison and NDFP Negotiating Panel member Julieta de Lima said they only have fond memories of the victim.

“What immediately struck us as soon as he introduced himself to us was his amiability, cheerful mien, quick sense of humor and deep sense of optimism,” the couple said from their asylum base in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

“In the course of working with him we came to respect him for his revolutionary integrity, intellect and diligence in the discussion of issues and drafting of documents and his desire for a just and lasting peace,” they added.

Sison and de Lima pointed out that in slandering Malayao, those who murdered him are unwittingly rendering him the highest honor even if in the vilest form of slander.

“It is a good thing to be attacked by the enemies of the Filipino people’s revolutionary cause of national and social liberation. The attacks unwittingly verify who are the heroes of the Filipino people,” they said.

Sison and de Lima said Malayao is “contributed his best to the struggle for national freedom, democracy, genuine development, social justice, cultural progress and just peace.”

“He will live forever in the hearts and minds of the people, while his contributions are indestructible energy within the growing and advancing revolutionary movement,” they said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Malayao family: ‘How could they tell such lies against Randy?’

SAN PABLO, Isabela—Randy Malayao’s family expressed sadness over allegations made by the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant mismanaged funds that may have led to his assassination.

“The family is hurt. They are victimizing our brother even after he was killed,” Malayao’s elder sister Perla said.

Perla recalled that Randy never even had clothes that perfectly fit him, revealing that the victim did not like buying things for himself, using monies given him by friends and family on other people’s welfare.

“How could they tell such lies about Randy when he chose to be like the poor he chose to dedicate his life to despite his obvious brilliance, education and connections?” Perla asked.

Perla said no one knew their youngest sibling better than them, saying Randy was too good a person to have misbehaved as the police alleged.

The PNP in Region 2 alleged that Malayao may have been killed by his comrades in the revolutionary movement for misusing funds and running off with a woman.

The PNP did not offer proof to back up its allegations.

Malayao was also single at the time of his death.

Meanwhile, the 5th Infantry Division based in Gamu, Isabela through its spokesperson Maj. Jefferson Somera denied it had a hand in the PNP allegation being circulated by its spokesperson Supt. Chevalier Iringan.

‘Incredible generosity’

Malayao’s elder brother Isidro said they are constantly surprised by the stories told to them by people who visit the victim’s wake in their ancestral home in this town.

“It is only now that we learned that Randy helped more people that we ever knew,” Isidro said.

“We see total strangers crying before Randy’s casket, thanking our brother for his help,” he added.

Isidro said they never knew Randy also helped many Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law victims in Cagayan Valley receive compensation worth tens of millions of pesos.

“They tell us that Randy did not ask for a single centavo for all his troubles,” Isidro said.

A beneficiary whose father was killed and burned by Philippine Constabulary troopers in the late 70s confirmed that Malayao never asked for money from her even after her family received Php1.7 million with his help.

“Nasimpet ken nalaing ni Manong Randy,” she said in Ilocano, adding she never met the victim before they asked for his help with the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB) led by retired police general Lina Sarmiento. (Randy was kind and brilliant.)

The beneficiary, who asked not to be named, said she could not think of any reason why Malayao was killed except that he was Leftist.

She added that she no longer supports President Rodrigo Duterte after Malayao’s murder. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

One Faith, One Nation, One Voice

Ginanap ang One Faith, One Nation, One Voice: A gathering for truth, justice and peace noong Enero 25 sa Rajah Sulayman Plaza, Malate, Manila.

Nagtipon ang mga taong simbahan, kasama ang iba’t ibang sektor sa isang prayer rally para sa karapatang pantao, at pagkundenda sa lowering of age of criminal responsibility.

Nanawagan rin sila sa mga Pilipino na tumindig na at huwag matakot magsalita laban sa patuloy na extra judicial killings, lalo pa’t ngayon maging ang mga taong simbahan ay isa na rin sa mga target ng administrasyong Duterte.

Nagkaroon rin ng candle light protest at nagwakas sa isang human chain sa kahabaan ng Roxas Boulevard. (Bidyo ni Maricon Montajes)

Government covering up on Malayao murder—CPP

SAN PABLO, Isabela—The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced efforts by the Rodrigo Duterte government for what it calls the “regime’s foulest move in sowing false information surrounding the murder” of National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Randy Malayao last January 30 in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

In a statement, the CPP accused the Philippine National Police in Cagayan Valley of not conducting any investigation but is only engaged in “covering up, spreading intrigue and slandering the victim.”

“This aims to cover up the responsibility of state agents, specifically Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads, which he himself ordered to carry out the killing,” the CPP in a statement Sunday said.

In a press release, the PNP in Region 2 said Malayao may have been killed by his comrades, alleging that he may have kept some monies for himself and that he ran off with a woman.

The police however did not provide any proof to back up its allegations.

Malayao was single and was known to have kept a Spartan lifestyle.

Looking elsewhere

Meanwhile, PNP director general Oscar Albayalde relieved two top Nueva Vizcaya cops for allegedly mishandling the initial murder investigation.

Nueva Vizcaya provincial police director PSSupt Jeremias Aglugub and Aritao Chief of Police Police Chief Inspector Geovanni Cejes were sacked for “apparent lapses in the investigation of the slay, particularly the mishandling of evidence at the crime scene.

“Albayalde’s order was an apparent punishment to the officers who allowed Malayao’s personal belongings returned to his family.

DILG’s demand letter addressed to the victim’s family.

In a related development, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) demanded from Malayao’s family that his belongings be surrendered to the police.

PNP personnel had arrived in Malayao’s wake Friday to press the victim’s family to surrender his belongings.

Several family members are high-ranking DILG officials, raising fears they may be further harassed over the tug of war over the victim’s personal belongings.

Family members refused to issue a statement to Kodao on the issue of the victim’s belongings.

A Kodao source, a lawyer, however said the DILG needs a court order to enforce its demand.

The CPP for its part said that despite the Duterte’s efforts to blame the victim, “the revolutionary forces vow to attain justice for Ka Randy and punish the perpetrators of this fascist crime.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NDFP tells government, ‘Do not criminalize children’

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemned the government for seeking to lower the age of criminal responsibility of children from 15 to 9 or 12 years old.                                 

In going after young children, the NDFP’s Special Office for the Protection of Children (SOPC) said the Rodrigo Duterte government has “intensified its attack on the toiling masses of the Filipino people, particularly the children.”

“Not content with the burning and bombing of alternative tribal schools and the extra-judicial killings of young children in its anti-drug war, the regime has now set its sight on legalizing and institutionalizing its ruthless and vicious assaults against Filipino children’s rights,” the office said in a statement.

The NDFP said the government is using as basis children who are rampantly exploited by crime syndicates, particularly drug syndicates, as basis for its move.

This move of the Duterte regime is a violation of the international law on the rights of children, the NDFP , through its SOPC chairperson and Negotiating Panel member Coni Ledesma, said .

The Committee on Justice of the House of Representative overwhelmingly approved the proposal to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to nine years old last week while its Senate counterpart—headed by Senator Richard Gordon—said it will recommend a 12-year old limit.

 “You have to make him (Duterte) win. Eh galit na galit ‘yung tao e. kung makita niyo mukha ng Presidente, galit talaga sya sa drugs eh,” Gordon said. (He is really angry. If you see the President’s face, he really hates drugs.)

Earlier, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also said their move is in support of Duterte’s wish to lower the age of criminal responsibility.

The NDFP, however, said Duerte is mistaken in wanting to punish children.

“Statistics show that only two percent of crimes committed are by minors.  Of this two percent, 92 percent are crimes of petty theft and other non-serious offenses,” Ledesma said.

Ledesma also raised fears that jailing young children with older and hardened criminals would only encourage them to eventually become adult criminals themselves.

The NDFP said criminalizing children is not the cure for the criminality among the Filipino youth. 

“The solution is to address the root causes of poverty, and the building a society that is free from oppression and exploitation. That will ensure that children will realize their great potential to make positive contributions to society and so, they will not get involved in criminal activities,” Ledesma said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma to Digong: Killing 30k drug suspects is what is insane

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said there is nothing rotten or insane about fighting for independence and democracy.

Replying to yet another tirade from President Rodrigo Duterte, Sison said what is insane is killing 30,000 drug suspects as well as mass murdering workers, peasants, indigenous peoples, social activists and human rights advocates to preserve the ruling system.

“What is totally rotten is for Duterte to be serving the interests of both US and Chinese imperialists, the big compradors, landlords and his fellow corrupt bureaucrat capitalists who oppress and exploit the people,” Sison said.

Sison was replying to Duterte’s speech during the annual assembly of the Provincial Union of Leaders Against Illegality (PULI) at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City, Quezon Province Monday where he again admitted ordering the killing of drug addicts.

“You know why I ordered you killed? To end your problems,” Duterte said.

Another tirade

Duterte also launched into another tirade against local Communists, calling revolutionary forces purveyors of an “insane” and “rotten” ideology.

“I have not seen a group of people [as] affected by mass insanity,” Duterte said, adding communism is a “rotten ideology.”

Duterte said he is not averse to socialism but could not understand why the revolutionary groups must carry arms.

“I listen to Sison. The problem is, I cannot go into an armed struggle, carry arms to win and fight for a lost cause. The communist ideology is over and done with,” Duterte said.

Duterte also claimed that the Communists do not even have a single community under its control.

“Do you think you can take over the government? Not in a million years. You cannot even hold a single barangay,” Duterte said.

In a quick reply, Sison also said Duterte is in denial that revolutionary forces are widespread all over the country.

“The people’s democratic government is now operating in more than 15,000 barangays and it is advancing in waves until it can overthrow the counterrevolutionary state of the big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats like him,” Sison said.

China and Russia

Sison added it is Duterte who is rotten for serving the interests of the United States and China, as well the local ruling elite and corrupt government officials who oppress and exploit the people.   

Duterte’s repeated challenge to local Communists to visit China as well as Russia to observe how capitalism has taken over is insanity, Sison said.

“Filipino revolutionaries have contempt for the restoration of capitalism in China and Russia but are pleased at the same time that the rise of Chinese and Russian monopoly capitalism is now intensifying the contradictions among the imperialist powers,” he explained.

“Only an incorrigible traitor and tyrant and someone insane can glorify imperialist China and Russia, seek to keep the Philippines a prey to both old and new imperialist,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)