Looking for Randy Malayao: His Story (from Bukaneg’s blog)


Five nights and four days of hell

Friday night, as Pom and I were at a gas station on our way home from another long day, I received a text message. The message contained a girl’s name and it asked permission if she could call me. The number was unregistered and so I was having second thoughts whether to answer the text or not. Besides, phone calls were prohibited in gas stations. But I said yes nonetheless.

The voice at the other end of the line was unfamiliar. But the distress was in her voice was unmistikable. She said she needed to talk to me as soon as possible and will I meet her that same night? I asked her, “About what?” “About Randy,” she replied.

It immediately felt like someone dropped a heavy stone at the pit of my stomach. This kind of call with a very unusual request can never be good. I had no choice but to say yes. We hung up. After a few minutes I got another text informing me of a change in plans. It also said it was too late in the night and it may probably be too unsafe. The meeting was surely not about a good thing.

I spent a fitful night. I kept waking up, worried to death. Randy has been working underground for more than a decade as a National Democratic Front political consultant. He was the Visayas’ most popular and effective student leader and organizer before that.

Very early the next day, Saturday, without a proper shower and breakfast, I rushed over to where I would meet the woman who turned out to be just a girl by her looks. She broke the shocking news—Randy has been missing since Thursday night and his cellphones could not be reached. The best case scenario was that he was abducted by the military, the worst case scenario was that he was tortured and killed.

I called up Manang Perla, Randy’s elder sister. She did not want to believe me at first but I am sure she knew I would never kid her with something like this—especially when my voice cracked.

I rushed over to the Karapatan human rights group and the Desaperecidos, an organization of relatives of the disappeared. They were already informed when I reached their offices. There were also volunteers from the Cagayan Valley human rights group Lakbay CV. We immediately asked Randy’s friends and relatives the circumstances of their last meeting with him. We got a rough sketch of what might have happened to him. We came to the conclusion that it could only be the military responsible for this dastardly act. I parked myself before a computer and started writing all about Randy, from our boyhood, our families, our fathers’ unparalled friendship that was broken only by Uncle Felix’s untimely death by vehicular accident. I also wrote about Randy’s history as student leader and organizer. It was an easy task for me. I know him more than his family does in this aspect. I also wrote down what information we had that day.

In the afternoon, a search group was formed and they drove around his last known point of origin to where he might have been abducted. When the group came back, we made plans for more searches the next day.

All the while, I burned cellphone lines to his family and other friends, asking additional information and suggesting courses of action. To hell with astronomical phone bills. This guy is more than worth it.

I came home very late that night on my own. As I rounded the street corner leading to Matalino street, I thought someone took a picture of me because a camera flash pop on my face. I drove from out of there like mad.

At home, I told Pom what I knew at the time. Another fitful night’s sleep passed. Randy kept appearing in my dreams, smiling at me everytime as if we were just having lunch at a restaurant. It was just that, when we were together at the CEGP, we could hardly feed ourselves, much less afford a restaurant meal.

Sunday morning, I met Aya Santos and we drove to Camp Crame. We visited her mom, Elizabeth Principe, who suffered the same ordeal as Randy did six months back. It was I who broke the news to her, Aya so choked with emotions she could hardly open her mouth. We spent five hours inside the claustrophobic visiting area thinking of what could be done for Randy. We went back to the human rights offices just as the two search teams arrived from their rounds. Then we digested the information they brought back. We also drafted media advisories. As the volunteers faxed them, we talked, waited, talked some more and waited. My cellphone was peppered with messages from distraught relatives and friends.

At about nine o’clock, I asked Randy’s siblings to send Manung Dodo, their eldest, for the press conference and the camp searches the next day. Before midnight, I drove to the airport to collect two volunteers. I was home and in bed by three in the morning.

At six the next day, I was up and rushing to the CERV office because a departing volunteer insisted on talking to me before leaving. I rushed to collect Manung Dodo and brought him to the Bayan conference room for the presscon. It was a bit disorganized. The media people who arrived early requested to interview us immediately because there were other events to be covered. Then other journos trickled in, so we had to give interviews many times. Teddy was there, Edith Burgos was there, Dr. Carol Arraullo was there and many other Guilders and friends. Manung Dodo was amazed at how popular his brother is. He could hardly believe the people who he regularly saw on television were shaking his hand and telling all sorts of positive stories about their kid brother. Ma’am Edith even gave him a hug.

After a quick lunch, though we have to force ourselves to swallow the food, we set off for a camp search. We visited the notorious ABC (Camps Aguinaldo, Bonifacio and Crame) to submit letters to the Chief of Staff of the AFP, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army and the Chief PNP, respectively. We also visited known holding (and torture) areas within Bonifacio and left pictures of Randy. We noticed the soldiers, with their M4 rifles at the ready, could not look us in the eye and seemed to be ill-at-ease at our presence.

We proceeded to where Randy was last seen by friends at the Ortigas Center. We talked to managers, security guards and crew and showed them pictures of Randy (wearing a suit!). By then, Lakbay CV volunteers already talked to a security guard who confirmed someone who looked like the guy on the picture had dinner there on the night in question.

At this time, Manung Dodo and I received a call from Manang Perla about a hopeful information.

Then we proceeded to Barangay Rosario and had Randy’s case blottered. While waiting for the police to process the complaint, I crashed right on the driver’s seat and caught a short but deep nap. I was energized enough after to drive again.

As it was getting dark, we terminated our search and went back to the office. All of us were tired and hungry, but no one was complaining. Upon reaching office, we bought some bread and ate while we assessed the day just past and made plans for the next day. The fish crackers Mrs Burgos bought was consumed in no time. (Bless this lady!)

I went up to the Kodao office were Pom was patiently waiting for me. Then we went to a nearby hotel to meet two of our volunteers. Afterwards, short of cash, we ate at a street eatery and went back to Kodao office for me to get another nap. At ten, we drove to the airport to pick up another volunteer. We were home by two in the morning.

By then, I was more than 50 percent sure the military would admit they have Randy. I woke up before six and started trawling the internet. There were several stories about Randy, a couple of which quoted me, as Randy’s close friend, blaming the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army for Randy’s enforced disappearance. Then I received another text message confirming the public presentation. That was when I spammed the good news to fellow Guilders.

At about eight, I was flooded with calls and sms texts. Manang Perla, relatives and Karapatan volunteers were on their way to Camp Melchor dela Cruz of the 5th ID where Major General Dilodilo led Randy’s public presentation. At about 10:30 am, he was shown for 30 seconds and 20 meters away from family, friends and the media. At 12 o’clock, I again spammed this latest development. Randy was then being taken to Tuguegarao where he is being accused as one of those responsible for the death of the notorious Martial Law torturer and rapist Rodolfo Aguinaldo (who later reinvented himself as provincial governor and congressman).

My phone never stopped ringing with calls and sms messages after. At about four in the afternoon, I received a phone call from Manang Perla. While we were talking, I heard a familiar voice in the background. I asked Manang Perla to put him on. When he answered, relief flooded all over me like a cold shower on a hot Manila summer day. It felt that good and more!

It’s one in the morning already. I should be getting my fair share of rest and sleep, moreso that I downed a bottle of brandy in celebration. No, scratch that—in jubilation. (Brandy for Randy, got it? got it?) But am I ever so stoked I can not now sleep even when I have the luxury to do so.

My five nights and four days of hell are over.

= = = =

Randy’s five nights and four days of hell

As briefly as I could, here it is (as narrated to me by Randy himself a few hours ago):

From a fast food joint in the Ortigas Center, Randy tried to flag down several taxis. He noticed several guys before him waving the cabs off. He then decided to board the next G Liner bus that came his way. Upon hindsight, he said he was already being cased at that point.

Randy alighted near the Cainta Junction. When he stepped off the bus, two persons grabbed him and dragged him to a waiting car. Also taken from him was a substantial amount of cash, gadgets and personal items.

He was blindfolded and driven to where airplane noise came at short intervals. (Fort Bonifacio)

Still blinfolded he was interrogated for what he thought was 24 hours straight. By this time, he no longer had sense of time. He was being hit relatively mildly but repeatedly, so the marks won’t show. A bag was put over his head to asphyxiate him. All the while, he was being forced to admit he was someone else. His torturers kept on saying Randy’s mom, Auntie Nena, will die soon after she learns of Randy’s death. They also made him listen to voices they said belonged to his friends being tortured.

All the while, Randy said, he had just one answer for his abductors and torturers: “Kill me now if you want, but you will not get anything from me!”

After about 24 hours of physical, psychological and mental torture, Randy was taken to the CIDG headquarters at Camp Crame. This was most probably on the night of Saturday until Sunday. What followed was what felt like to him another 24 hours of interrogation and torture. At just about the time when Aya and I were also at Camp Crame, possibly just a few dozen meters away, Randy was there being tortured.

He overheard one of his captors saying there were already groups looking for him. He was then whisked back to Fort Bonifacio. A few hours later, they took him on a very long drive. On the road, they might have possibly passed Manung Dodo’s bus on its way to Manila.

When his blindfold was finally taken off, he was ordered to wear an orange shirt printed with the words “CIDG Detainee.” He then talked to some people in the holding cell and learned that some of them were from Tumauini, Isabela. Randy asked them to make contact with Manang Perla to inform her that he was at Camp Dela Cruz. He was then marched to where the cowardly military proudly presented him.

Twenty meters away, Randy saw his Manang Perla, Manung Anton and other relatives, friends and human rights workers. He beamed his famous smile at them.

Randy’s five nights and four days of hell ended.

visit bukaneg’s blog here.

5 Responses to “Looking for Randy Malayao: His Story (from Bukaneg’s blog)”

  1. mago Says:

    thanks for this info, we his fraternal brods are so worried with randy. a lot of communications have been going around within the group and it seems we are at a loss how to deal with this kind of situation. randy was my best friend in college days or i geuess everybody else’s.please send him our deep concern for his predicament and our prayers even though he might not beleieve in it.we are express our sildarity behind our brethren even though not all share his convictions. please be kind to relay this to randy. thanks

  2. barangayrp Says:

    hi mago!

    they received your message. i reposted it to our yahoogroup. but they wanted to know if what concrete steps are you planning right now, as his(Randy’s) brods and friends.

    please look for Karen Faith Villaprudente and Toto Deduro there. you can coordinate any move to support Randy with them.

    they are also hoping that the Beta Sigma there will convene to discuss and plan for actual support to Randy. Never mind his political convictions they say, after all, he’s your (Beta Sigma) brod, a founding member at that, and one of the most respected products of your fraternity.

    he’s being tortured right now, that’s why he need more than solidarity specially from your frat. 🙂

    thanks. keep me posted!

    halong!

  3. Dondi Tiples Says:

    My gosh! I didn’t even know this happened! I just saw the fundraising for his defense invite at Friendster and I was shocked! Randy and I were schoolmates in UPV-Miagao over 15 years ago. Are there any latest developments? Is he still being detained?

    barangayrp
    :

    hi dondi.

    nakakulong pa rin siya. kinasuhan siya ng ilang murder at iba pa. ang objective ay bulukin siya sa kulungan sa dami ng kaso, kahit na hindi siya nadedeklarang guilty ng korte.

    sana makadalo ka sa activity.

  4. Komrad Says:

    How do we visit Randy?

    barangayrp:

    just read the comments, browse the articles. you will eventually find someone u know or someone u know can answer that question. if what u mean by asking this question is, how will u coordinate ur visit.

    or better yet, you can go directly to the provincial jail of isabela.

  5. createmo Says:

    Thank you for your site 🙂
    I made with photoshop backgrounds for youtube, myspace and ect..
    my backgrounds:http://tinyurl.com/6r7cav
    all the best and thank you again!

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