Cagayan Political Prisoner Acquitted of Murder Charges


MANILA — After more than two years in prison, political detainee Randy Felix Malayao was acquitted of murder charges filed against him for the killing of former Cagayan governor and congressman Col. Rodolfo Aguinaldo.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 03 also found Randy not guilty of murdering Aguinaldo’s bodyguard, Joey Garo; and for the frustrated murder of one Amelia Soriano, his secretary.

Malayao, a consultant of the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), was abducted on May 15, 2008 around 9 p.m. in front of a mall in Cainta, Rizal by six unidentified men believed to be agents of the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

For four days and four nights, Malayao’s relatives and friends searched for him. On the fifth day of his disappearance, the 5th ID of the Philippine Army surfaced him at Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela. He was tortured for four days and four nights.

“At the onset, I decried having been charged for the said crimes. There was no direct, sufficient, or prima facie evidence to link me to the aforesaid killings. I am not a criminal perpetrator or conspirator in any sense,” Malayao said in a statement dated June 25.

The decision of the Court is the triumph of justice,” Malayao said, adding that the statements given by the so-called “star” witnesses are contradictory, concocted, uncorroborated and pure illusory.

However, while he was acquitted of killing Aguinaldo, a notorious human rights violator during the Marcos dictatorship, Malayao is still facing other charges. He was also charged with murder in connection with the ambush of some military personnel in Balgan, San Mariano, Isabela; for allegedly killing three more men including a barangay (village) captain of the same town, Benjamin Olalia, Jr. of Ilagan, Isabela and an Army personnel in the same place.

Randy Malayao at the Tuguegarao City Jail (Photo by Teddy Casino)

Malayao is currently detained at the Tuguegarao City Jail in Cagayan.

Malayao called on the new Aquino administration to release all political prisoners across the country, stop the state-sponsored killing of activists, surface the victims of enforced disappearances and resume the formal talks in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDF.

Karapatan’s data showed that there are 320 political prisoners, 317 of whom were jailed by the Arroyo administration, still languishing in different jails all over the country.

Malayao said those responsible for his abduction, particularly the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), the 5th ID, and the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – should return to him or to the negotiating panel of the NDFP the laptop computer, camera, cellphones, digital files, cash and other things seized from him. Appropriate charges have been filed against them.?

In his message posted at Facebook, Malayao thanked the RTC’s presiding judge, Honorable Jesarene Aquino “for standing to reason” and his counsels Emilio Bermas, Ephraim Lasam, Eric Calagui and other lawyers who served ex-officio and pro bono, Karapatan and human rights advocates and other colleagues who stood in solidarity with him.

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