PNP forms task group to probe killing of NDF consultant

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has formed a special investigation task group to go after the killers of National Democratic Front (NDF) peace consultant Randy Malayao.

In a press briefing on Wednesday, January 30, Cagayan Valley regional police chief Jose Mario Espino said they have no suspect yet in the killing of Malayao as they proceeded with their in-depth investigation.

Malayao was killed by a lone gunman around 2:10 am Wednesday while he was asleep inside a bus in a stopover in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Espino said local police have already secured copy of a CCTV footage near the area to look for possible leads.

"We are now looking into the CCTVs in the area if we can get [any evidence]," Espino said in a mix of Filipino and English.

The killing, according to Espino, might have something to do with his "being a part of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA)."

Espino echoed the charges filed against Malayao in 2008, implicating the latter in the fatal ambush of former Cagayan Governor Rodolfo Aguinaldo. The said charges, however, were dismissed by a local court due to lack of evidence.

He also added, "for the Philippine National Police, he is a CPP-NPA member" due to his alleged connections with the communist rebels.

"But on the personality of Felix Randy Malayao, it is known to us what his background is," Espino said.

Several groups and organizations have condemned the killing of Malayao, describing him an advocate of peace and justice.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), in a statement, said Malayao's murder happened "when voices of opposition and human rights groups are tagged as enemies, making them possible subjects of assaults." – Rappler.com