By Chito Chavez
The human rights group Karapatan criticized the government for concocting stories to pin the blame on communist groups for what it called state-sponsored killings.
“As in many other cases of state-sponsored killing, the government whips up some fantastic theory, expressed through contradictory statements and devoid of any evidence, that uses the NPA (New People’s Army) or some other scapegoat to evade accountability of its State forces and justify more draconian measures,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
Palabay was responding to the statement of Chief Supt. Mario Espino of Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 2 linking the NPA to the killing Wednesday of peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao.
Palabay insisted that “all along it was the government who included peace and human rights advocate Randy Felix Malayao in the proscription petition in February 2018 and branded him as a terrorist, inciting violations against him and many others.”
She said “it is as clear as day” that government forces have the “motive to silence those who work for the cause of human rights and just peace; it has promoted the pattern of threats, harassment and the filing of trumped up charges against political dissenters; it has incited violence against individuals like Malayao; and it has engendered the climate of impunity that led to the killing of Malayao.”
Palabay said the PNP is deliberately bringing the NPA into the issue “to muddle the reality that this cold-blooded killing was perpetrated by the government’s death squads.”
“This was also the Duterte government’s script to shield its paramilitary forces in the Sagay massacre last October 2018 and to roll-out its Memorandum Order #32 which enabled the increased deployment of soldiers in Negros,” she said.
Malayao was killed while sleeping a parked bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
Malayao, who was on his way home, was also a former political prisoner and was abducted, tortured and charged with trumped-up charges in 2008 but was later released in 2012.
He was also a member of the board of trustees of SELDA-Northern Luzon and the vice president of the Makabayan coalition.