The daughter of slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant and Anakpawis chairman Randy Echanis, Amanda Lacaba Echanis, was arrested along with her one-month-old newborn son in Barangay Carupian in Baggao, Cagayan, Anakpawis said Wednesday.
According to Anakpawis, the younger Echanis was arrested at 3:30 a.m. on December 2 and was charged with illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
URGENT ALERT -- Peasant women organizer in Cagayan, and the daughter of slain Anakpawis Chairman Randall "Ka Randy"...Posted by Anakpawis Party-list on Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Anakpawis said it “vehemently denounces” the arrest of Echanis.
"We assert that Echanis was arrested on planted evidence. She just gave birth to her first child,” it said.
“We call on her immediate and unconditional release on just, humanitarian grounds," Anakpawis added.
Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana told GMA News Online that the operation was carried out on the strength of a search warrant issued by a judge for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
“So, there was nothing wrong if this is the case. Search warrant can only be issued after probing questions from the examining judge with deposition of witnesses,” Usana said in a text message.
“If they have complaints, the PNP is open po. But again, evidence must be presented from their side,” he added.
According to a police report, members of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Regional Field Unit 2 and other PNP units implemented the search warrant at around 8:30 a.m. It was issued by Judge Sheila Gacutan-Labuguen of the MTC 2nd Judicial Region dated November 27, 2020 against Amanda Socorro Echanis, 32.
Police said the search resulted in the seizure of one unit M16 ARIS Colt 5.56mm assault rifle with serial number 4951346, one piece long plastic magazine for M16 rifle, one piece long steel magazine for M16 rifle, six pieces live ammunitions for M16 rifle, thirteen pieces live ammunitions for M16 rifle, one piece live ammo for M16 rifle extracted from the chamber of the M16 rifle, one piece hand grenade with marking 0689, one piece hand grenade with marking frag MK2 with lot no.p-4-105-78 and subsequent arrest of the suspect.
In August, Randy and his neighbor, Louie Tagapia, were found dead in a rented house in Novaliches, Quezon City.
Former Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao said the older Echanis, 71, was undergoing medical treatment and unarmed when "police forces" raided his house.
An independent autopsy of his remains showed indications that he was made to suffer before being killed.
Randy’s widow, Erlinda, also said they believed the killing was "politically motivated" and related to his being a consultant of the NDFP and leader of the progressive group.
Last November 25, Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio, both NDFP consultants were also killed in alleged encounter with authorities in Angono, Rizal.
The NDFP said the consultants, both 69 years old, were already retired and convalescing in the past years.
"Both suffered from diabetes. Comrade Eugenia Magpantay recently suffered a stroke, which rendered her comatose for four days. Comrade Agaton Topacio was in pain for heart enlargement, knee injury, and frozen shoulder," the NDFP noted.—Ma. Angelica Garcia/LDF, GMA News