EDITORIAL - Solve this one
EDITORIAL - Solve this one
(The Freeman) - August 11, 2020 - 12:00am

According to news reports, peasant group leader Randall “Randy” Echanis, 72, was found stabbed dead yesterday morning in his apartment in Novaliches, Quezon City, along with a neighbor.

While many may not be familiar with Echanis for that description alone, he also happens to be the chairman of Anakpawis partylist and a peace consultant with the National Democratic Front. He participated in talks between the group and Pres. Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and 2017.

Not many details are available yet regarding the incident, but his associates immediately implied that state forces were involved in his murder.

"This is a declaratory act that national leaders of a legal democratic movement are now targeted to be killed by the Duterte regime," former Anakpawis partylist representative Ariel Casilao is quoted as saying in a Phistar.com report.

As of this writing, according to the associates of Echanis, no police report of the incident has been released, further adding to their suspicion.

There is no proof yet that state forces were involved, as mentioned by the associates of Echanis. We also believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, so we will not point fingers.

However, what is sure is that killings like these raise ugly specters of the past, particularly that dark time in our history when state forces practically became unstoppable in going after, jailing, and even eliminating critics of the administration, whether just suspected or positively identified.

No doubt the recent passage of the anti-terror bill will add even more fuel to the fire. Of course, it should be mentioned that while the bill doesn’t call for the elimination of those considered terrorists, there are those who may be able to hide behind its protection in going after anyone or everyone they consider an enemy of the state.

It’s easy to say Echanis was targeted because of his past work, present advocacies, and who he was. But then again the incident may not have any connection at all to any of that whatsoever. As mentioned earlier, details into his death are scarce as no police report regarding his death has been released.

We urge the authorities to look into and solve this crime swiftly. Considering that incidents like these and involving persons like Echanis serve to fire up rumors that the state is going after its critics, only the quick and just resolution of this case will bring absolute closure.

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