TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- Several militant groups in Cagayan Valley marched around this city to protest and ask for justice on the killing of slain activist Randy Malayao.
Nearly a hundred members of Danggayan, Makabayan, Karapatan, and Anakpawis in Cagayan held placards and posters saying, “Hustisya para kay Ka Randy!” (Justice for brother Randy!)
The protesters also slammed the Duterte administration for its “crackdown” order against militants, activists, and advocates for peace.
The killing of Malayao, they said, is “political.”
Malayao, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), was shot dead while sleeping inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya on January 30.
“Ubos kayang wakasan na ang ganitong walang habas na pampulitikang pamamaslang sa mga lider at kasapi ng progresibo, militante, at makabayang mga organisyong masa,” the groups said in a joint statement.
(There is a strong need to end the reckless political killings of leaders and members of progressive, militant, and patriotic organizations.)
Before he was killed, Malayao had actively participated in the formal peace talks in Europe, and had traveled around the country to advocate for “just and lasting peace.”
Malayao’s NDFP represented the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the peace talks in hope to end the decades-long armed revolution.
After the peace talks was suspended by President Rodrigo Duterte, Malayao was among those 656 personalities in the proscription list the Department of Justice petitioned to a court to be declared terrorists.
With this, the group blamed the killing of Malayao to the military and its commander-in-chief Duterte.
Rebels as suspect
The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, in its official statements tagged Malayao as member of the CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) and pointed to the communist rebels as possible killers.
In his interview with ABS-CBN News following the release of CCTV footage of the killing of Malayao, Chief Superintendent Jose Mario Espino, Cagayan Valley regional police chief, said Malayao had disputes within the revolutionary movement.
“Kapuwa niya ang pumatay sa kaniya. Unang-una, ang motive pinpoint doon sa kasamahan niya. The reports that we are getting na may internal problem sa hanay nila, isa ‘yun. Wala naman siyang ibang personal o business interest that we know of,” Espino told ABS-CBN News.
(His comrades killed him. First, the motive points to his comrades. We are getting reports that they have internal problems, that’s one. We don’t know of any other personal and business interests.)
Prior to his interview, Espino’s regional police information office also released a purported statement from the Philippine Army saying Malayao had “misused” funds of the rebel group, an accusation even the CPP and the family belied.
Espino also urged the family to give back the personal belongings of Malayao, including his cellphones and laptop, to fast track resolution of the killing.
Malayao’s belongings was earlier surrendered to his sister Perla by the Aritao town police. Days after, the town police chief and the provincial police drector of Nueva Vizcaya was relieved for “mishandling evidence.” Earlier published in Rappler.com