The Philippine Star
Slain NDF consultant’s daughter arrested
The daughter of slain National Democratic Front consultant Randall Echanis was arrested in a police raid on her house in Barangay Carupian, Baggao, Cagayan on Wednesday.
Police said Amanda Socorro Echanis, 32, yielded two rifles, ammunition and two hand grenades.
Echanis was charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives before the Department of Justice in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan yesterday.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas said the raid was based on a search warrant issued by Judge Sheilla Gacutan-Lagungen of the Baggao Municipal Trial Court.
Sinas said the young Echanis is finance officer of the West Front Komiteng Probinsya ng Cagayan of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New
People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Hindi po totoong wala siya sa underground. Ang asawa niya ay lider po ng armadong NPA sa Cagayan Valley,” Sinas said in an interview over ANC.
He denied allegations that the firearms, ammunition and explosives found in Echanis’ house were planted.
The Cagayan Valley police also disputed claims that police officers forcibly took Echanis’ one-month-old son, saying she requested that she brought him along as she is still nursing him.
Echanis’ father, the national chairman of Anakpawis and secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas ( KMP), and his companion were killed by unidentified assailants at his rented apartment in Novaliches, Quezon City on Aug. 10.
Commission on Human Rights spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia urged authorities to give primordial consideration to the welfare of Echanis’ baby, as stipulated in the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Department of Social Welfare and Development should ensure that the welfare of Echanis’ baby would be protected even as he stressed that having a child is not a reason to be exempted from being jailed.
Human rights advocate group Karapatan condemned what it described as ”continuing inhumanity” against the Echanis family.
The group said Echanis was wrongly accused as a ranking member of the CPPNPA.
” We demand that she be kept with her newborn son so she can breastfeed and provide him with sustainable care,” Karapatan said.
“We deplore the spate of illegal arrests and imprisonment of activists and political dissenters because of their beliefs, activism or advocacy work and exercise of their basic rights to human rights defense,” the group added.
Karapatan cited the raid on the house of Isabelo Adviento of the KMP, also in Baggao, on Monday. – With Elizabeth Marcelo, Janvic Mateo, Victor Martin, Alexis Romero, Gilbert Bayoran