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National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant, Randy Malayao, who was a verified and identified peace consultant for the NDFP, was recently released on bail after he had been illegally abducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines back in 2008. Malayao is one of many NDFP consultants who are incarcerated in the Philippines under trumped up charges that are usually written up as murder or illegal possession of firearms charges.
Malayao is supposed to be protected under the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), along with all other NDFP peace consultants, under a signed agreement between the NDFP and the Philippine government during the Ramos administration. Yet the Aquino administration (and the previous Arroyo administration) continues to ignore its own signed agreements and disregards international humanitarian law by continuing to illegally kidnap, arrest, and keep in prison, NDFP peace consultants.
Raymund B. Villanueva wrote on the release of Malayao:
Randy Malayao, political prisoner and consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace process with the Government of the Philippines (GPH), was released on bail by the Ilagan (Isabela) Regional Trial Court Branch 17 last Thursday at two o’clock in the afternoon.
Malayao walked free after posting a P100,000 ($2,380) bail for a unified direct assault with multiple murder and attempted murder charge against him stemming from a New People’s Army ambush that killed three government soldiers and wounded four others in San Mariano, Isabela in 2005.
Welcomed by family and friends after his release, Malayao admitted to feeling chills down his spine after realizing he is a free man once again. “It felt like I was doused with cold water,” he said in Filipino.
Without missing a beat, however, Malayao slammed the Aquino government for not respecting the signed agreements that should have paved the way for his release in February 2010.
In an interview with Bombo Radyo-Cauayan City, Malayao said “This government does not respect the agreements it signed.”
In a signed Joint Statement in Oslo, Norway, both the GPH and NDFP agreed to release most, if not all, NDFP peace consultants as a confidence-building measure and in compliance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.
Upon acquittal, Malayao berated the military and the prosecutors for being charged with Aguinaldo’s killing.
“There was no direct, sufficient, or prima facie evidence to link me to the killings,” he said.
“The prosecution tried to paint me as the prosecutor, judge and executioner of Aguinaldo, to no avail. The statements given by their ‘star’ witnesses are bereft of logic, uncorroborated, utterly contradictory, concocted and pure illusory,” Malayao added.
On July 22, he was hurriedly transferred to the Ilagan district jail to face the current charges against him.
Despite his temporary liberty, however, Malayao’s current court trial would proceed. His lawyers decided against submitting a demurer, saying it might jeopardize his chances of being cleared of the murder and attempted murder charges against him. The prosecution has rested and Malayao’s lawyers are set to present character witnesses in his defense this month.
Human rights group Karapatan likewise expressed elation over Malayao’s temporary liberty.
“It is with joy that we welcome the release of political prisoner Randy Malayao, even though his release from prison is due to the granting of the bail petition filed by his lawyer,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
“His family and friends, like the Filipino people, are surely excited in welcoming Randy’s release from prison,” she added.
Karapatan, along with Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detention at Aresto (Selda), and the Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace accompanied Malayao’s family and friends in looking for him after he was abducted in 2008.
“The refusal of the current Aquino regime and its negotiating panel to recognize and implement his release and that of other NDFP Consultants in accordance with the Joint Statement of 21 February 2011 is condemnable,” [chief NDFP negotiator] Jalandoni said.
“It shows the lack of political will of the Aquino regime to resume the GRP/GPH-NDFP peace negotiations and to respect and comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other binding bilateral agreements,” he added.
“The trumped up charges of murder and attempted murder clearly do not stand against Malayao, as all other fabricated charges stand against all political prisoners in the country who have suffered illegal arrests, torture and long years of incarceration because of baseless charges,” Karapatan’s Palabay, for her part, said.
“We decry the continuing violations of the Aquino government in promoting and prolonging the injustice committed against the 384 political prisoners. The government likewise continues to violate all agreements forged in the past years during the peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP, and, up to this day, Malayao is witness to such violations,” she added.