Palace: Duterte won't intervene in Echanis probe

Malacañang said that President Duterte will let investigators proceed with the probe on the killing of  National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randall “Randy” Echanis.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Echanis's wife appealed to the President to intervene so the remains of her husband can be returned to them after the police took it on Monday evening.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Roque said Duterte will let the process proceed since it will be difficult for anybody to intervene in a police investigation.

"On matters where there is a police investigation or criminal investigations being conducted, it's very difficult for anyone, including the President, to interfere. So he will allow the process to continue," he said.

"I think the President, as a lawyer, will allow investigators to proceed unhampered," he added.

According to Roque, the authorities and the family of the slain activist can undergo DNA testing to determine the identity of the remains.

"Even on the claim of the bodies because there are questions about the identity, we now have modern technology that will guide us," he said.

A report by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) revealed that the 72-year-old Echanis and a certain Louie Tagapia, 48, were killed inside a rented house in Novaliches, Quezon City by five unidentified men around 1:35 a.m. on Monday.

The QCPD, however, initially identified Echanis as "Manuel Santiago" based on the identification cards that police retrieved from the crime scene.

On Tuesday, Echanis' family said that the police had forcibly taken his cadaver and transferred it to another funeral home.