Statement of Bishop Felixberto Calang
Main Convenor, Sowing the Seeds of Peace
Core Group Member, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP)
February 7, 2019
Murder of Randy Malayao leaves gaping hole in peace process, threatens peace advocates
We convey our deepest sympathies to the family of Randy Malayao, peace consultant in the GRP-NDFP negotiations, as he was laid to rest yesterday at his hometown of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
His murder, like the bullets that riddled his body while asleep, punctures through the peace process.
We had spontaneous conversations with Randy during two rounds of the GRP-NDFP peace talks in The Netherlands. If time were to be counted, there were more moments spent on banters and friendly, non-hostile, chats that Randy had together with the members and consultants of the GRP peace panel, than the serious political exchanges at the formal negotiations.
As one of the few NDFP consultants who do not have pending cases in court, Randy was our speaker on two occasions in peace forums in Mindanao. He was level-headed, conscientious, intellectually sharp but always unassuming in his ways.
It struck us that, as Secretary Bello relates, Randy visited him at the secretary's Isabela home and they had earnest and warm conversations there.
That is why we believe his death threatens the spirit of civility and dialogue that is supposed to be the atmosphere in the peace talks, even as battles may continue to rage on the ground. Randy's murder poses a direct threat to all those engaged in this dialogue. It further emphasizes the need for civilian supremacy to prevail in the peace process. Civilian supremacy ensures that reason prevails over militarist and extrajudicial solutions.
We believe it is supposed to be the shared principle of the GRP and NDFP that politics controls the gun, and not the other way around. It is therefore extremely disturbing that negotiators have a gun pointed on their heads. One just recently triggered fatal bullets on Randy.
We add our voices to the increasing chorus calling for justice for Randy Malayao and for the resumption of the GRP-NDFP peace talks. The continuation of the talks guarantees that agrarian reform, nationalist industrialization, human rights, political and constitutional reforms and eventual cessation of hostilities take precedence in a process that is supposed to politically, not militarily, resolve the roots of armed conflict. In his death, Randy stands tall as a champion of these principles.
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