Int’l group asks UN’s OHCHR to act on Echanis slay | Inquirer News

Int’l group asks UN’s OHCHR to act on Echanis slay

/ 05:19 PM August 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — An international group has condemned the killing of a National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant, urging the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to act on the issue.

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said on Tuesday that they have written a letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to report the slay of NDFP consultant and Anakpawis chairperson Randall “Randy” Echanis.

Echanis was found dead on Monday in his rented home at Novaliches, Quezon City, with Quezon City Police District (QCPD) chief Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo saying it may be due to personal grudge or robbery.  However, some activists and relatives of the victim believe it was state-sponsored.


ICHRP claims that Echanis’ death comes amid the government’s anti-insurgency program.


“This murder is almost certainly a calibrated operation of the Duterte counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapanatagan,” ICHRP chair Peter Murphy said in his letter to Bachelet.

“It is designed to destroy any dialogue that may resolve the five-decade-long armed conflict in the Philippines, and instead pursue all-out political violence against civilians,” he added.

According to ICHRP, member-states of the UN Human Rights Council should force the Philippine government to adopt recommendations made in a previous report — which said that there is near impunity in the country, asking the government to stop its drug war-related killings.

“We call on all member states of the UN Human Rights Council to be seized of the seriousness of the human rights situation in the Philippines and to adopt all the recommendations in your June 30 report on the human rights situation in the Philippines,” ICHRP said.

Controversies continue to muddle the case of Echanis’ death, as QCPD investigators initially identified him as “Manuel Santiago,” pertaining to the identification cards which bore the victim’s photo, and the name the victim used in communicating with the apartment’s owner.


However, the wife of Echanis positively identified the body of her husband around Monday night.

But as they transferred the body to a funeral parlor they preferred, police officers seized the body of Echanis as it supposedly did not have any clearance to be released yet.  Echanis’ wife says the cadaver bore alleged torture marks, gunshot wounds, and stab wounds.

Previously, former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao claimed that Echanis, a known peasant leader, was killed during a police raid.  But Montejo pleaded to parties not to accuse the police immediately without offering any evidence.

QCPD’s version also noted that police only came to the scene after it was reported that a certain witness who lives in the same apartment at Barangay Novaliches Proper heard noises coming from Santiago’s room, and eventually found the victims’ bodies lying on the floor.

Montejo also insisted that he does not know Echanis, and that the victim was not under surveillance.

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“Hindi siguro magandang accusation ‘yong ganun, hangga’t maaari siguro dapat meron tayong matibay na katibayan na ipakita, ebidensya.  Paki-usap ko rin po siguro hangga’t wala tayong ebidensya, pag-ingatan natin ‘yong pagparatang sa kapulisan,” Montejo said.

(It is not good to accuse us of that because as much as possible we should have strong evidence to back up our claims.  We ask people that as long as they do not have any evidence, please take extra care in accusing the police of wrongdoing.) [ac]

TAGS: Anakpawis, ICHRP, NDFP, OHCHR, Philippine news updates, Randy Echanis

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