Guevarra: PNP must explain transfer of Echanis’ body between funeral homes
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) should explain why they took the body of slain peasant leader Randall “Randy” Echanis, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Tuesday.
Guevarra said ordinarily, it is up to the family of the deceased to determine the funeral arrangements.
Echanis was found dead, along with his neighbor inside his house in Novaliches, Quezon City, on Monday morning.
The police, however, claimed that the body was that of a certain Manuel Santiago citing as reference identification cards found inside the house.
But the body was positively identified by Erlinda, Echanis’ widow.
Early Tuesday, Echanis’ family alleged that the police has forcibly taken the remains of the peasant leader and returned it to Pink Petal Funeral. The police claimed that Echanis’ family violated protocols when they took the cadaver and transferred the body to another funeral home.
“Here, there seems to be a question as to the identity of the deceased, nonetheless, the police should explain why it was necessary to transfer the body from one funeral parlor to another,” Guevarra told reporters.
Guevarra said the Task Force on Extra-Judicial Killing (EJK) will form a special investigating team to look into the alleged death of Echanis once the question on the identity of the body has been resolved.
“Upon the assumption that the subject was indeed peasant leader Echanis, I have directed the AO 35 Task Force on EJK to form a special investigating team to look into the incident. In view of the emerging confusion as to the identity of the subject, however, we shall await confirmation by the family of the deceased that the subject was indeed peasant leader Echanis,” said Guevarra.
DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete said that while there had been reports that Erlinda positively identified the body as that of her husband, there is still a need for a thorough forensic examination.
“Considering questions about the identity of the victim, a thorough forensic examination may be necessary for the purpose. We leave it to experts to complete this identification. That said the AO35 Secretariat is nevertheless preparing to investigate and determine the possible inclusion of the case under our mechanism,” he added.
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