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Freed on bail leftwing leader seeks House seat

By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 17:40:00 11/12/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Inquirer Politics

MANILA, Philippines?From the walls of prison to the halls of the House of Representatives.

This will be the fate awaiting Randall ?Ka randy? Echanis if Anakpawis party list can muster the needed votes in the May 2010 election to get the maximum three seats in the lower chamber.

A political detainee during the Marcos, Aquino and the current Arroyo administration, Echanis, deputy secretary general of the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), was chosen as third nominee of Anakpawis during its convention Thursday in Quezon City, next to incumbent congressmen Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod.

?I feel humbled by the complete trust given to me by the peoples? movement. They can look forward that I will continue to bring their struggle in Congress if given a chance,? Echanis said.

Mariano said ?the nomination of Echanis would give a big boost to our party?s campaign in 2010.?

?Ka Randy?s nomination will surely provide a big boost to the fighting morale and strong determination of our party members and machinery,? Mariano added.

In January 28, 2008, he was arrested by military and police elements in Negros Occidental, while attending a consultation with farmers and farm workers on the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (House Bill 3059) and in preparation for the 2nd National Rural Congress to be spearheaded by the Catholic Bishops? Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on July 2008.

Echanis, 61, was charged with multiple murder for his alleged involvement in the purging of communists in Leyte in the late 80s.

He was released in August through a Supreme Court order granting him P100,000 bail.

Echanis was exposed to activism as a student of the Philippine College of Commerce (now Polytechnic University of the Philippines) when he joined rallies condemning the United States? war of aggression against Vietnam and immersed in student issues. In college, he joined the Kabataang Makabayan (KM ? Patriotic Youth) and became chairperson of KM ? University of the East Chapter in 1970, and a participant of the First Quarter Storm of 1970.

In 1983, he was arrested without warrant by elements of the then Ministry of National Defense Security Group under Colonels Gregorio Honasan, Red Kapunan, and Rodolfo Aguinaldo. He was released after the 1986 people?s uprising.

In 1990, during the administration of the late president Corazon Aquino, Echanis was again arrested by combined elements of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Naval Intelligence and Security Force, and the National Capital Region Defense Command.

He was freed in 1992 after the case filed against him for violation of PD 1866 (illegal possession of firearms in furtherance of rebellion) was dismissed by the Manila Regional Trial Court.



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