Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya—A consultant of the National Democratic Front was killed by still unidentified assassins in a parked bus while he was on his way home to Isabela.
Police said Felix Randy Malayao y Paragua, 49, an NDF consultant for peace talks between communist rebels and the government, was aboard a Cagayan Valley-bound Victory Liner bus when it made a usual stop at a restaurant in Barangay Darapidap here.
Two unidentified men reportedly boarded the parked bus at about 2:30 a.m. and one of them shot the victim dead.
The gunmen were said the attackers fled riding a black Yamaha motorcycle.
Malayao had two gunshot wounds to the right temple, about two inches apart near his eye.
In a statement, the Cagayan Valley chapter of the human rights group Karapatan said Malayao was on the Justice department list that tagged him a terrorist after peace negotiations collapsed.
The NDF condemned the killing.
“The NDF in Cagayan Valley region, with all its allied organizations and member individuals, condemns the murder of NDF Consultant Felix Randy Malayao by death squad elements of the AFP,” the statement said, pinning the murder on the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Comrade Felix was a humble servant of the masses, who spent 33 years of his life arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people against an unjust ruling system. He lived among the peasants and workers of Cagayan Valley, later serving as the region’s representative to the NDF-GRP peace talks, all the while performing other revolutionary duties,” the NDF-Cagayan Valley statement said.
Malayao was arrested in 2008 and was imprisoned for four years, but he was released after the courts found no sufficient evidence to convict him.
Among those who provided legal assistance that facilitated his release was Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, who were with him on various trips to Europe before peace talks collapsed.
Malayao finished a degree in Fisheries at the University of the Philippines Visayas campus in the early 1990s. His colleagues in the university also issued a statement condemning the killing.
“The University of the Philippines Fisheries Guild (UPFG) strongly condemns the murder of our alumnus Randy Felix Malayao who was shot dead on his way to Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya earlier today. Sir Randy was a staunch activist during his youth and was a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) prior to his death,” a statement posted at the UP Visayas Facebook page reads.
The Communist Party of the Philippines said Malayao’s “brazen murder” showed President Rodrigo Duterte’s disdain for peace negotiations with the rebels.
“The killing of Malayao, as well as the illegal arrests of NDF peace consultants Adelberto Silva, Rafael Baylosis, Vic Ladlad, and Rey Casambre, displays the Duterte regime’s disdain for negotiating peace
with the NDFP, let alone in respecting and implementing the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees,” the statement read.
The communist group labeled Duterte as a “war President” who despises efforts to resolve the roots of the armed conflict.
“He is rather obsessed with assassination methods by the United States, unleashing death squads against those who push for just peace,” the CPP said.
In 2008, Malayao, one of the former leaders of CPP in Cagayan Valley, was arrested for the 2001 killing of Cagayan Rep. Rodolfo Aguinaldo, a former military officer, and prominent anti-communist campaigner. He was acquitted of the charge, however.
Two leftist lawmakers on Wednesday also condemned the killing.
“We strongly condemn the despicable and cowardly murder of NDFP peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao. His death comes after President Duterte terminated the peace talks and vowed all-out war against the CPP-NPA,” ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said.
His colleague, Rep. France Castro, said “the attacks against peace advocates and human rights defenders must end and justice must prevail.”
Also on Wednesday, the military said six suspected New People’s Army rebels operating in the hinterlands of Tinambac, Camarines Sur, were killed following a clash with army troops.
Reports said the rebel fighters were slain after they were caught by responding infantry men and agents of the 96th Military Intelligence Company who acted on NPA extortion activities in Barangay Lupi at about 6 a.m. They were killed in a 20-minute gun battle.
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