Activist and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randall “Randy” Echanis was killed in an alleged house raid in Novaliches, Quezon City Monday, militant groups said.
In a statement, Anakpawis said Echanis, 72, and a still unidentified neighbor were reportedly killed in a rented house at around 1 a.m.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said Echanis was stabbed by five suspects.
Former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said the elderly activist was undergoing medical treatment and was unarmed when his house was raided by “police forces.”
Echanis was a long-time NDPF consultant and a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms. He was involved in the peace talks with the Duterte administration from 2016 to 2017.
He was also the deputy secretary general of KMP and a former Anakpawis nominee in the 2010 elections.
“Our anger is beyond words. This is a culture of extrajudicial killings with impunity under the Duterte regime. This is a declaratory act that national leaders of legal-democratic movement are now targeted to be killed by the Duterte regime,” Casilao said in a statement.
“The entire civil society, human rights advocates and freedom fighters must totally denounce this criminal act,” he added.
Edre Olalia, legal consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) president, also slammed the killing.
“It is almost conclusory that the ruthless dark forces have struck again,” he said in a statement. “How then can we encourage people to openly and effectively engage in legitimate causes and advocacies for social and economic reforms if you treacherously silence them?”
“Is there no more space at all for robust dissent, protest and advocacy if it will rock the boat of the powerful and privileged political and economic rulers?” he added.
The KMP condemned the incident and demanded justice for Echanis.
“His killing is made more heartless and cruel amid a pandemic when death and hunger abounds,” KMP chair Danilo Ramos said.
The farmers’ group called for national indignation and protest on the killing of Echanis.
Ramos remembered Echanis as a “selfless and resolute” peasant leader who lived a “simple life and amassed nothing but contributions to the people’s struggles.”
Meanwhile, the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) claimed that they retrieved identification cards from the crime scene identifying the two persons killed as Manuel Santiago, a senior business consultant at a tech solutions company, and Louie Tagapia, 48.
A Google search showed that there are no relevant results for the tech solutions company that Santiago supposedly worked for according to the ID.
Police also claimed that Tagapia has a tattoo identifying him as a member of the infamous Sputnik Gang.
Five unidentified suspects reportedly shot the victims at around 1:35 a.m., according to the police report.
The two IDs, along with a laptop, notebook, two flash drives, and P400 were retrieved from the crime scene.