Death of a Betan Hero

by Joel Paredes





It was a sun-drenched, but surprisingly cool morning on Feb. 7 when our fallen brod Randy Malayao was finally laid to rest at the public cemetery in his hometown of San Pablo in Isabela.

“We hope that Randy will be an inspiration to all of us,” the local parish priest said in homily at the jam-packed 17th Roman Catholic church near the town’s poblacion.

Teary-eyed, the priest remarked,” Randy had exemplified the life of a man who had served his people well without asking anything in return.”

Over 2,000 angry protesters, mostly peasant farmers and his activist friends, chanted “Justice for Randy Malayao” as they took the streets while the neighborhood silently watched his family who accompanied Brod Randy’s remains to the church for final blessings.

In one of the street corners, a surprised young girl asked her mother why there was a big protest march for a funeral. “He’s our hero. I’m proud of him,” the mother replied, then continued to waive her white handkerchief, at the funeral procession.

It was also the overarching message from the brods who delivered their eulogy during the farewell rites for Brod Randy, which was presided by the GPs from the different assemblies in the Cagayan Region on the eve of his interment. One brod even described him as the “Che Guevarra of the Philippines.”

Satur Ocampo, a former militant lawmaker who now who chairs the Makabayan bloc, where Brod Randy was the Cagayan regional leader, said that they will continue with their series of protest actions to pressure government to bring to justice Brod Randy’s assassins, if not the brains behind the murder.

“Oo, tinarget si Randy bilang Bayan Muna/Makabayan regional leader din,” Ocampo texted friends on Jan. 30, the day Brod Randy was shot dead inside a passenger bus when it made a strop in Aritao town in Nueva Vizcaya. He was on his way home from Quezon City, and many believed our brod was already being tailed even before he took the Victory Liner bus in Cubao.

The Communist-led National Democratic Front also paid tribute to Randy, describing him as the “No. 1 Cadre in the (Cagayan) region” in a message delivered by a woman during the necrological services at the church, if only to refute claims by the local PNP that our fallen brod was gunned down by the rebels.

Militant Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus said it wasn’t surprising that Brod Randy was victim of a smear campaign even in his death since he had become a prominent “peace broker” when he was supposed to be a “high-value target” by their political enemies.

To all brods who had known Brod Randy we continue to mourn, but we are also celebrating his life, being the epitome of a breed of Beta Sigmans who had opted to serve the people, believing that we cannot attain a “just society” by merely watching on the sidelines.

During the funeral, the Cagayan brods proudly displayed their white shirts with an image of Brod Randy and the words “ all that is good and noble in man.” He will never be forgotten.



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