After a week in prison, paralegal in Echanis case tests positive for COVID-19

Published August 25, 2020, 9:32 AM

by Raymund Antonio

The paralegal officer who was detained for a week for securing the remains of slain peace consultant Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis has tested positive for coronavirus.

According to Anakpawis, which Echanis chaired, its paralegal Pao Colabres underwent swab test after his release on August 18. His positive result for COVID-19 came out Monday.

His lawyer Sol Taule confirmed he has contracted the virus and is now on self-isolation.

The militant group blamed the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for “compromising the health of Colabres by putting him in a congested jail with potential COVID-positive inmates, and for the delay of his release.”

Police arrested Colabres on Aug. 11 for obstruction of justice supposedly for claiming Echanis’ body without authority. He was then released on a P36,000 bail.

Echanis, along with his neighbor Louie Tagapia, was killed in his rented home in Novaliches, Quezon City. Autopsy results showed he was tortured before he was killed.

Concerns over the safety of inmates in congested prisons and detention facilities have been mounting since the coronavirus outbreak.

“There is no one to blame for this but the government. Amid the pandemic, their ultimate priority is to arrest ordinary citizens who are asserting their rights,” Taule said.

Anakpawis, in a statement, said the QCPD should be held accountable as “they did not only endanger the health of Colabres, but also the entire prison population.”