An organization of lawyers on Wednesday, Aug. 12, condemned the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for making false accusations against a lawyer of the family of slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randy Echanis.
“The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers – National Capital Region Chapter condemns the malicious imputation of a crime and web of lies against its officer and colleague, Atty. Luz Perez, who is merely performing her duty as counsel for the heirs of slain Anakpawis Chairperson and NDFP Peace Consultant Randall ‘Randy’ Echanis,” the NUPL-NCR said in a statement.
The organization came to the defense of its member who was accused by the QCPD of having eluded arrest after misrepresenting herself in trying to claim at a funeral parlor the remains of a certain Manuel Santiago.
“The widow of Randy Echanis, Erlinda Lacaba-Echanis, positively identified the cadaver [of] her husband, whom the police initially claimed to be Manuel Santiago, through a video conference conducted between her and the owner of the Pink Petals Funeral Homes on August 10, 2020,” NUPL-NCR recounted.
“Mrs. Echanis executed a Special Power of Attorney and designated Atty. Perez as her representative to claim the body of her murdered husband and to sign relevant documents to process the release of the cadaver,” it explained.
The NUPL-NCR lectured the QCPD that it is an elementary rule that “it is the family of the deceased who has the exclusive and primary right to possess the cadaver of their loved ones for purposes of proper burial, to the exclusion of all others.”
“We remind the Philippine National Police that we, lawyers, have our sworn professional duty to the people to represent and protect their legitimate interests, causes and concerns,” it stated.
“Unless the PNP now sees and considers the duties enumerated in the Lawyer’s Oath as crimes and offenses, or the mandate of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers as empty suggestions, then we, dare say that we are not taking this affront against the legal profession, against our ranks sitting down,” it added.
The group also reminded the QCPD that Perez has also been in constant communication with the QCPD from the start regarding the release of the remains of Echanis to his family.
“For the QCPD officials to say now that they misrepresented themselves is a downright falsehood. It is a crude canard to all the more claim of evasion of ‘arrest’ against Atty. Perez,” NUPL-NCR said.