By RAYMUND B. VILLANUEVA
The assassination of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines’s (NDFP) youngest peace consultant is pushing it to reconsider its policy of being open to peace negotiations with the Rodrigo Duterte regime, its chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison announced.
“The heinous murder manifests the scheme of the Duterte regime to shun peace negotiations in the first place, escalate its attacks on the people and their leaders and use its all-out war on the revolutionary forces and people as the very excuse for imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people,” Sison said in a statement.
Sison said that in view of the murder of NDFP consultant Randy Malayao, the NDFP and all revolutionary forces within its fold are now in the process of reconsidering its policy of being open to peace negotiations with the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) under the Duterte regime.
“[The revolutionary forces] are more than ever determined to carry out the overthrow of the the treasonous, tyrannical, murderous and corrupt Duterte regime,” Sison added.
Malayao, 49 years old, was killed early Wednesday morning while asleep inside a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
“It can be expected therefore that the murder of Randy Malayao and other criminal offenses of the Duterte regime will result in the intensification of revolutionary armed struggle nationwide against a regime hell-bent on going down in history as a butchering monster and enemy of the cause of just peace,” Sison added.
GRP peace panel ‘deeply saddened’
Meanwhile, GRP chief negotiator and labor secretary Silvestre Bello III expressed shock over the murder of Malayao.
“We take the report with shock and disbelief. The assassination was rather cowardly,” Bello said in a statement sent to Kodao.
He added they were deeply saddened by the “very unfortunate event.”
Bello accused “misguided elements” who may be on the loose to put to waste whatever is left of the gains of the peace process Malayao actively participated in for several years.
Bello was a close friend of Malayao, acting as defense lawyer in one of the criminal cases filed against the victim.
Malayao was cleared of all charges against him, including allegedly masterminding the ambush on Rodolfo Aguinaldo.
Bello said that the GRP peace panel “plead(s) that those seeking ways to peace be spared.”
He added it is their hope that the life sacrificed by Malayao serves to give new life to their common desire for peace.
Yet another PNP canard
The Philippine National Police in Cagayan Valley, however, tried to pin the blame on the New People’s Army (NPA) for Malayao’s killing.
“As a high-ranking Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA officer in the region, it may be that his comrades killed him,” Chief Superintendent Mario Espino, the regional director of the Philippine National Police in Cagayan Valley alleged.
Espino, however, did not offer proof on his allegation.
Sison readily condemned Espino’s statement.
“The false claim that the murder of Randy Malayao was done by the NPA is a brazen intrigue of the vilest kind,” Sison said.
Sison said the PNP officer’s “malicious and evil” is aimed at covering up “murdering agents of the Duterte regime and to set the stage for further murders of suspected revolutionaries, peace and human rights advocates and critics by the death squads of the Duterte regime in the PNP and AFP.”
Local and international human rights groups also blamed Malayao’s murder to the killing atmosphere under the Duterte regime.
Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights blamed Malayao’s murder to “death squads of the Duterte regime,” adding it was the government that included Malayao in the proscription petition in February 2018 and branded him as a terrorist, inciting violations against him and many others.
“The PNP seems disinterested in a thorough investigation, as it prefers to quickly dismiss the case. At best, it is indicative of the typical dishonest, misleading and deceitful PNP who spins the most ludicrous of stories; at worst, it is a defense mechanism to protect the real perpetrators by laying the blame elsewhere,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
The Commission on Human Rights for its part said it will investigate Malayao’s murder, noting that the murder “comes at a time when voices of opposition and human rights groups are tagged as enemies, making them possible subjects of assaults.”
“His killing comes at a time when political activists in the country have become regular targets of violent attacks, and in a climate in which such killings are being normalised under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple also said.
‘More lethal blows’
Sison said that Malayao’s assassination leaves the NPA no choice but to launch more offensives against “state terrorism.”
“Duterte and all his armed minions are digging their own graves because they are goading the NPA to launch more tactical offensives by way of demonstrating that they are targeting those responsible for the rising and expanding crimes of state terrorism,” Sison said.
“In the face of the propaganda of the Duterte regime to cover up the murder of Randy Malayao and further crimes of state terrorism, there is no other effective way for the NPA to prove the falsity of intrigues and attain a measure of justice for the victims but to deliver more lethal blows on those perpetrating the crimes of state terrorism,” Sison said.