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‘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)

Randy Malayao led singing of this Ilocano revolutionary song

After the first round of formal peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Duterte government in Oslo, Norway in August 2016, the NDFP organized a solidarity event in its base in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

It was attended by the NDFP consultants, mostly newly-freed, the Filipino expats from all over Europe, the media and a representative from the government peace panel.

In this video, Malayao, killed January 30, 2019, led the singing of a revolutionary Ilocano song, along with fellow consultants Randall Echanis and Kennedy Bangibang.

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)

Freed NDFP consultant Raffy Baylosis thanks supporters

A day after his release from nearly a year of imprisonment, National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Rafael Baylosis attended an event for his fellow peace advocate Rey Claro Casambre at the University of the Philippines in Diliman last January 18.

Baylosis thanked his lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center, human rights groups, progressive people’s organizations, his family and friends, as well as his Sigma Rho Fraternity brothers for his freedom.

He denounced those who arrested him and the trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against him and companion Guillermo Roque.

Court clears NDFP peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion

By Joseph Cuevas

The Regional Trial Court Branch 100 in Quezon City dismissed the cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion Guillermo Roque.

In a 27-page decision last January 15, Judge Editha Miña-Aguba pointed out the illegality of the police surveillance and arrest.

The judge said evidence must be believable and must come from a credible witness, something the charges against Baylosis and Roque failed to show.

According to Public Interest Law Center (PILC) lawyers, the arrest against Baylosis and Roque January last year was illegal because the police insisted that the accused were roaming through Manila and Quezon City with guns tucked in their waists and toted around a bag of red rice with a grenade inside.

Baylosis’s defense poked holes into their story, pointing out not only lapses but grievous procedural mistakes, and thus exposed concerted, malicious efforts to fabricate the charges, the defense lawyers said.

PILC added that the dismissal of Baylosis case proved not only his innocence but exposes the police illegal actions, undue surveillance, illegal arrest, planting of evidences and filling of trumped up charges against peace consultants and political activists.

NDFP chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said he is glad about the development.

“Mabuting nadismiss ang charges of illegal gun possesion sa kaso ni Raffy dahil napatunayan na planted ang evidence,” Sison told Kodao.

“Dapat ganoon din ang mangyari sa kaso nina Vic Ladlad, Rey Casambre at iba pang plinantahan ng mga baril at explosive,” Sison added.

Lengua De Guzman, daughter of Baylosis and convenor of Free Raffy Baylosis Committee, said they are looking to file counter charges against the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as all other participants in the fabrication of criminal charges.

The dismissal followed Judge Aguba’s decision granting the demurer to evidence last June 2018 in favor of another peace consultant Ruben Saluta and his companions who were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives, citing the broken chain of custody and inconsistency of witnesses’ testimonies against Saluta and company.

In November 2015, Judge Aguba also acquitted NDF consultant Eduardo Serrano in a multiple murder case for the failure of prosecution to identify him as “Rogelio Villanueva”.

Serrano, who was imprisoned for 11 years, died in detention last January 2016 due to cardiac arrest.

Baylosis was the first peace consultant arrested last January 2018 after President Duterte unilaterally terminated the peace negotiations and made a crackdown against peace consultants.

Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Rey Claro Casambrewere arrested in October, November and December 2018, respectively. #

NDFP waiting for GRP offer to reopen talks, Joma says

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) would be willing to explore whatever offer the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) would be making to reopen the stalled peace talks, Jose Maria Sison said.

In a statement, Sison said he sees a silver lining in GRP President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statement that he would be willing to go back to peace negotiations on the premise that the revolutionary movement could tone down its offensives against the military and police.

“There is some silver lining in [Duterte’s] statement that he is willing to engage in peace negotiations. In this regard, the NDFP is open to exploring whatever opening the GRP is willing to offer,” Sison said.

Sison explained that if peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP resume and reach a point where substantial agreements are made, ceasefire can be agreed upon by the negotiating parties.

‘We can talk’

In his recent speech in Masbate Province, Duterte said his government and the revolutionary movement can talk if the New People’s Army (NPA) would lessen its attacks against government troops.

“But if they can tone down, no ambush, no killing of my policemen and my military, we can talk,” Duterte said.

Otherwise, Duterte said that he will allow the purchase of individual firearms, including mayors, to protect them from NPA attacks.

Duterte said local politicians “feel naked” without firearms.

Duterte repeated his statement Thursday in a speech at the turnover of housing units to several soldiers and police personnel in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan Thursday.

“Give me another reason to talk to you again and I will be there,” Duterte said.

‘Agreements more plausible’

Sison advised Duterte to resume peace talks instead of arming civilians, saying a peace agreement is more plausible and less costly than for the government than to keep trying to destroy revolutionary forces.

Sison said the President still has time if he chooses a political agreement rather than an all-out war.

“In the next three years, it is possible for the GRP and NDFP to make a peace agreement if the Duterte regime is serious and sincere about negotiating and ending its all-out war against the revolutionary forces and the people,” Sison said.

“It is even more plausible and less costly for a peace agreement to be made by the two parties than for the GRP to seek in vain the destruction of the revolutionary forces in the next three years,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Joma: It’s Duterte regime that may not survive by 2022, not the NPA

The Rodrigo Duterte government should concentrate on surviving the next three years rather than be preoccupied in trying to wiping out the New People’s Army (NPA) by 2022, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said.

Even with a reset deadline, government military and police forces will surely fail in destroying the revolutionary army, Sison in a statement said, adding it is Duterte who may already be out of office by 2022.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson explained the military and the police cannot accomplish in three years what they failed to accomplish in 50 years.

“The scheme will surely fail from day to day, week to week, month to month and from year to year as the NPA will intensify tactical offensives and mass work,” Sison said,

 Instead, Duterte himself will have difficulty surviving politically, he added.

“These are lameduck years for him, during which infighting among his followers will be debilitating and challenges will rise from within the ruling system as well as from the revolutionary forces,” Sison said.

Department of National Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Tuesday the government hopes to wipe out the communist guerrillas in three years.

 ‘Pipe dream’

In the press briefing, Lorenzana admitted that defeating the communists could not be accomplished within the year, as earlier predicted by Duterte.

In September, President Duterte’s said the government would win the war against the NPA by the second quarter of 2019.

Former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff and now Presidential peace adviser Antonio Galvez in November echoed Duterte’s statement that the military will eliminate the NPA by next year.

Lorenzana, however, said the prediction is a tall order even with increased military operations nationwide.

“We cannot do it this year because it is a huge problem. If you will recall, this insurgency has been going on for the past 50 years already and we cannot end it in one year,” Lorenzana said.

“Maybe, our target now should be in the remaining three years of President Duterte’s term. We can probably accomplish that,” he added.

‘Wasted years’

Sison said Duterte should be blamed for wasting opportunities to sign peace agreements with the NDFP aimed at addressing the root causes of the armed conflict.

Duterte cancelled the peace talks with the NDFP in November 2017 and moved to have CPP and the NPA declared as “terrorist organizations.”

“Were the Duterte regime willing to engage sincerely and seriously in peace negotiations with the NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict and make agreements on social, economic and political reforms, a just peace could be attained in less time than three years and at far less cost in contrast to the enemy’s futile military campaigns that are costly in terms of blood and public money,” Sison said.

“The problem with the Duterte regime is that it thinks peace negotiations are merely for the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and that the sincerity of the NDFP is merely the willingness to surrender to the unjust ruling system of big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats like Duterte,” he added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)