Randy Malayao is missing

The phrase “tall, dark and handsome” were a perfect match for Randy Malayao. Towering above student journalists during assemblies of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, Randy was a force to reckon with at the period 1991-1994 when he served as the guild’s vice president for Mindanao Visayas (I always knew he was from Visayas but my fingers typed Mindanao; sorry for the mix up) under the presidency of Teddy Casino.

Randy was editor-in-chief for two years of Mangingisda, the student publication of the UP Visayas in Miag-ao. His fraternity brothers remember him as part of Beta Sigma’s history of student leadership there.

I first met Randy in the 1994 national congress of the CEGP in Initao, Misamis Oriental. He was a convincing and natural public speaker, and knew the ins and outs of campus journalism very well. He impressed many, including myself.

In about a year, Randy convinced me to join the CEGP national executive committee as assistant vice president for Luzon, under his direct tutelage, so to speak. That was 1995, when malignant forces were trying to disrupt the glorious history of the CEGP through attempts to split it in half. Randy was a forceful and compelling voice at the time, encouraging us to take to heart what CEGP is and what these forces wish to turn it into.

Randy was a joy to work with. He usually sang a signature song titled “You’ve got to do more than that” during Guild assemblies. The song could perhaps be his life’s theme song.

The CEGP national leadership along with about 99.99 percent of active student publications and local formations back then stood solidly behind the patriotic and progressive tradition of the guild, saying no to the splittists who wanted to misuse campus journalism towards insurrectionist ends.

In 1995 (or was it 1996?), during my turn as organizing committee chair of the CEGP convention when we paid tribute to Randy as he bade goodbye to the Guild he so jealously protected and heartily served. He wept right in front of the hundreds of Guilders assembled at the Boy Scouts Jamboree Site in Los Banos.

Randy soon left us afterwards, but only after giving us endless reminders on what to do or not to do, about the needs and demands of campus journalists. He reminded us to be true campus press freedom fighters and to follow what our heroes and martyrs did: To put the CEGP and student journalists in the service of the studentry and the public.

We rarely met afterwards. When he had time, he would invite us to small meetings at another Guilder’s house. When he discovered the joys of mailing lists, he made his presence felt at the CEGP alumni e-group.

Today, Randy Malayao is missing. He has not surfaced since May 15. We are angry and indignant. Words cannot contain our concern. We want to see him safe and sound. The evil bastards who took him should be put on notice that they cannot just whisk a man away like that.

I texted my friends tonight about Randy and one replied: Wasn’t he part of the underground? I retorted: So what? Can’t the authorities who deem him a criminal just obtain a warrant of arrest to legally take him?

Before we get engulfed in the debate about beastly conduct and beastly treatment courtesy of death squads, a debate I do not wish to dignify further, I just wish to state that friends like Randy Malayao don’t deserve to be abducted or forcibly disappeared. Randy deserves respect. If he has done something wrong, the legal processes should be availed of.

Thus, I urge my friends and Randy’s friends to press the authorities to find him and for those who have taken him to please release him. We must act both for Randy’s sake as well for our own, so that we and our family would be spared the plight that unfortunately befell him. What the malefactors did was to terrorize both Randy and all of us.

It is imperative that we fight back, and the simplest way to do it is to add our voice to those of his family, who now cry out: Surface Randy Malayao now!


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