Another Bayan Muna leader has been felled by an assassin’s bullet, this time in Bohol. Mario “Mayong” Auxilio succumbed from gunshot wounds at the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City after he was shot Friday night by anti-communist group member Hilario Mandahao Diola. Alimaong, the group where Diola belongs, reportedly has links with the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion.
I have many fond memories of Mayong—who ran for the post of Board member under Bayan Muna in Bohol but lost—when he was still an official of the militant Hugpong sa mga Mag-umang Bol-anon (Humabol) in the late ’80s. I went to their office in Tagbilaran often when I was still actively organizing farmers. Mayong was but one of the many competent Humabol leaders who would later go beyond just advancing the causes of one sector.
I heard that the military and anti-communist groups demonized Mayong before he was shot. The propaganda of hate must have therefore gotten into Diola. But Mayong, like all the other leaders of militant groups are people—they are also trying to make both ends meet, have their own family to raise and laugh and cry. In his death, I would like to remember Mayong in that perspective.
I would like to believe I was among those who were instrumental in Mayong’s eventual marriage to Marivir, who would later write for The Freeman newspaper and then set up her own public relations firm. I encouraged him to pursue his courtship of Marivir despite her being a petty bourgeois (Mayong’s class origin was, if I remember it correctly, upper middle peasant). That would later become the butt of our jokes the few times we met later.
I don’t know what happened to his marriage, although I heard several years ago that it was on the rocks. I also haven’t talked with Marivir, thus the lack of information on their family life the past few years. But one thing one could not take out from Mayong, despite his marital problems, was his adherence to national and democratic principles. He was very passionate about that, the reason why he became one of Bayan Muna’s reliable officers.
I support calls for authorities to arrest the perpetrator and even ascertain his motivation. It may not just me mere coincidence that the one who shot him reportedly has links with the military. With the more than 100 militants in the open and legal struggle killed the past few years, I would say the situation has turned for the worse. Mayong did not die despite the struggles we waged against the Marcos dictatorship. I am therefore prompted to say the Arroyo administration may be worse.
But extrajudicial killings didn’t work before and there is no reason it will work now. What it will only fan is the hatred of people against the government. It will prod those in the legal and open struggle, including their relatives, to go underground and take up arms, which would pose greater problems. And it would not make the Arroyo administration look good in the international community where humane values are cherished.
–Candido O. Wenceslao, June 18, 2007