QCPD: Slain man is Anakpawis’ Echanis
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) yesterday acknowledged that one of the two persons killed in an apartment in Novaliches on Monday is that of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant and Anakpawis chairman Randall Echanis.

QCPD director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo said they arrived at the conclusion based on the result of a fingerprint examination of the corpse, whom they initially identified as Manuel Santiago.

He said a specimen of the right thumbmark provided by Echanis’ family is similar to the post-mortem fingerprint done on his corpse.

“It means Randall Echanis and Manuel Santiago are one and the same person,” Montejo said in a news briefing last night.

With the identity of Echanis now resolved, Montejo said they are coordinating with the victim’s widow, Erlinda, for the turnover of his body.

Policemen on Monday night forcibly took Echanis’ body from St. Peter’s Memorial Chapel and returned it to a funeral parlor in La Loma where it was first brought.

Montejo appealed for understanding as they just wanted to be careful in their probe.

Probers are looking at possible motives for the murder, one of which is that Echanis’ companion, Louie Tagapia, was the real target of the perpetrators.

Montejo said Tagapia had more stab wounds than Echanis, noting that it may be “a personal grudge.”

Another possibility is that the attack was the handiwork of robbers, he said.

CHR probes slay

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched its own investigation on the death and subsequent tug-of-war for the remains of Echanis, an official said yesterday.

In addition to the killing, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said the investigation will also look into alleged violations in relation to the “snatching” of Echanis’ body.

“Despite the termination of life, CHR reminds the government that such condition does not extinguish the government’s obligation to investigate violations and ensure that further injustices are prevented,” De Guia said.

The issue, according to De Guia, has become a matter of respect for human dignity that “speaks of the kind of society that we mold.”

‘Difficult’ for Duterte

Meanwhile, Malacañang said yesterday it would be “difficult” for President Duterte to intervene in the probe of Echanis’ death.

Echanis and Tagapia were found dead in the activist’s rented apartment in Quezon City last Monday, according to Anakpawis, a party-list of peasants and workers he had led.

Echanis’ widow Erlinda has identified one of the bodies as his, saying it “bore torture marks, multiple stab and gunshot wounds.”

Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, who represents Echanis’ family, has argued that the QCPD has no authority to withhold the body because the peasant leader’s family, friends and lawyers had confirmed that it was Echanis. – Alexis Romero

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