Mother-activist's arrest reminds of Reina Mae Nasino's case

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Mother-activist's arrest reminds of Reina Mae Nasino's case
This photo shows Amanda Lacaba Echanis who was arrested at dawn on December 2,2020
Anakpawis Party-list

MANILA, Philippines — The daughter of slain activist Randall "Ka Randy" Echanis was arrested on Wednesday in what a group said was done illegally and based only on trumped-up charges.

An alert by the Anakpawis party-list said Amanda Lacaba Echanis was illegally taken by the police and military with her one-month old newborn son. 

The arrest, the group added, took place at Brgy. Carupian of Baggao in Cagayan past 3 a.m. Wednesday.

It came with authorities also raiding the house of Anakpawis Cagayan's chairman Isabelo "Buting" Adviento. 

Echanis was charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions, as well as illegal possession of explosives. 

The incident paints a reminder of the case of another arrested activist — Reina Mae Nasino — who faces the same charge and had given birth in jail, only to be separated from her child and despite appeals before courts, was not allowed to see her three-month-old before passing away. 

RELATEDThree-month-old baby dies without reuniting with political prisoner mom

"We assert that Echanis was arrested on planted evidence," Anakpawis said. "She just gave birth to her first child. We call on her immediate and unconditional release on just, humanitarian grounds."

Nasino was arrested in 2019 along with dozens who are members of progressive groups, with lawyers representing her arguing that the cases are trumped-up charges and are part of government efforts to stifle dissent and silence critics. 

She was allowed to attend her child's wake and burial but in full personal protective equipment and handcuffs, along with a heavily guarded procession that many criticized as an overkill.

The incident has led detained Sen. Leila de Lima to file a measure that would set up facilities in detention centers and jails for women detainees, especially for mother and their children. 

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Amanda's father "Ka Randy" was stabbed to death back in August in his home in Quezon City. He was a known peasants' group leader and a peace consultant who also participated in peace talks with the Duterte administration. 

Police had forcibly taken his body from the funeral parlor he was brought to, despite his wife Erlina already positively identifying the body of Ka Randy, "which bore torture marks, multiple stab and gunshot wounds."

RELATEDAnakpawis: Police took body of slain peace consultant, arrested paralegal

Echanis is the second peace consultant killed during the current administration following the brutal murder of Randy Malayao in January 2019 while he was on a bus heading to Cagayan.

No other details have been made available so far, but Anakpawis said it will hold an online press briefing on Thursday, December 3 on Amanda's arrest. 

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