MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday condemned killings of a communist peace panel consultant and Quezon City barangay chair on Wednesday, saying no one should fall victim to violence.
The slay of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randy Malayao had drawn grief and anger in the left, while the fatal shooting of Quezon City Barangay Bagong Silangan chairman Cristelle Beltran was classified as "election-related."
“We condemn these slayings. There can be no act of violence against anyone, regardless of whether they agree with the government, whether or not we belong to the same ideologies or religious beliefs, we will never tolerate any unlawful killing in this country,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
Malayao, 49, was shot dead by an assailant that boarded his ride when it stopped in Aritao town around 2 a.m. Wednesday, said Nueva Vizcaya police director Chief Insp. Giovanni Cejes.
Malayao's murder "on a lonely long trip on the night bus" is part of a series of attacks meant to "get those who fight the oppressive and exploitative system and who work for fundamental change fast and quick," said Edre Olalia, National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) president and NDFP legal consultant.
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison said because of Malayao’s killing, the communist party was now reconsidering its policy of being open to the resumption of peace negotiations with the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte.
The talks had been suspended after government cited continued rebel attacks when negotiations were ongoing.
Meanwhile, Beltran, chairman of Barangay Bagong Silang in Quezon City, was ambushed by motorcycle-riding gunmen on Wednesday. Her driver was also killed in the attack.
Police consider Beltran’s killing as the first case of poll-related violence in Metro Manila.