Political Detainee Being Denied Urgent Medical Treatment

The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel continues to block the petition filed by detained peasant leader Randall Echanis to allow him to undergo medical treatment for his gallstones.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel continues to block the petition filed by detained peasant leader Randall Echanis to allow him to undergo medical treatment for his gallstones.

Echanis, deputy secretary general for external affairs of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), was arrested on January 28, 2008 for 15 counts of multiple murder in connection with an alleged mass grave in Hilongos, Leyte. He is now detained at the Manila City District Jail.

During the hearing regarding Echanis’ petition for medical treatment, Doctor Vicente Porciuncula, Echanis’ doctor, was cross-examined by the Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecution panel February 26 at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 before Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina.

Porciuncula testified that Echanis needs laparoscopic surgery for his gallstones. In laparascopic surgery, the surgeon removes gallbladder through small multiple incisions.

Gallstones are deposits like small stones that form in bile, a fluid that helps digestion; bile is stored in the gallbladder, a sac under the liver. Gallstones can develop in the gallbladder or in the bile ducts, which are tubes that carry bile to the small intestine.

Randall Echanis goes out of the court room after a hearing on February 27.

Based on Echanis’ ultrasound, Porciuncula said they found multiple small stones. “The smaller the stones are, the more dangerous it will become.”

Porciuncula said that if laparascopic surgery is not done, small stones may eventually block the bile duct. If this happens, the surgeon explained, Echanis will experience very severe pain and will cause complications. “Eventually, he will turn yellow.”

An open surgery will then be necessary, said Porciuncula. In open gallbladder surgery, the surgeon removes the gallbladder through a single, large incision in the abdomen. The surgery will take more time for the patient to recover.

During the cross examination, State Prosecutor Peter Ong asked Porciuncula if he personally did the ultrasound examination.  Porciuncula said the ultrasound result was filed with the patient’s chart. He said this is the normal procedure at the Philippine Heart Center.

Ong maintained that the ultrasound result is hearsay because the doctors who performed the examination were not presented as witnesses.

Ong further asked Porciuncula if the operation should be immediate. The surgeon said it should be done in the next two weeks.

Ong said that if Echanis’ small stones would block the bile duct, there would be enough time to bring him to the nearest hospital from the Makati City Jail.


Echanis’ wife Linda said the state prosecutors are unjust.

Unjustly detained na nga, unjust pa rin ang treatment sa kanya bilang political detainee,”Linda said.
Humanitarian grounds na nga, pinipigilan pa nila,” she added. (He is already unjustly detained, and yet they still treat him unjustly as a political detainee.)

Linda said that her husband, like co-accused Vicente Ladlad, was also held in solitary confinement by the military when the alleged crime took place.

Lawyer Jobert Pahilga, Echanis’ counsel, said that Echanis was arrested in 1983 and kept in solitary confinement, first at Camp Aguinaldo and then in a detention facility in Tuguegarao, Cagayan until his release in March 1986.

Linda said that like Ladlad, Echanis was arrested on the basis of the Presidential Commitment Order (PCO).

The state prosecution asked the court for permission to present their own expert witness during the next hearing. (Bulatlat.com)

Share This Post