“Clearly, there was no criminal act was and has been committed by Perez and Colabres for the police to ‘arrest’ them in the first place.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Lawyers group denounced what they called a “malicious imputation of a crime and web of lies” against their colleague who merely performs her duty as counsel for the family of slain peace consultant and peasant leader, Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-National Capital Region refers to the claim of the Quezon City Police District accusing lawyer Luz Perez and paralegal Paolo Colabres of misrepresenting and introducing themselves as relatives to claim the body of certain Manuel Santiago.
Colabres was arrested and still detained at Camp Karingal while Perez, according the claims of the QCPD, has eluded arrest.
Katherine A. Panguban, NUPL-NCR secretary general said that Echanis’s wife Erlinda has positively identified her husband through a video conference between her and the owner of the Pink Petals Funeral Homes on Aug. 10. The recent fingerprint cross-matching conducted on Echanis’s also yielded positive result.
Erlinda then executed a Special Power of Attorney and designated Perez as her representative to claim the body of her husband. Perez also has the authority of the family to sign relevant documents to process the release of Echanis’s remains.
“Clearly, there was no criminal act was and has been committed by Perez and Colabres for the police to ‘arrest’ them in the first place,” said Panguban.
She added that Perez and Colabres had been in constant communication and coordination with the QCPD to release the body of Echanis to his family since day one.
“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,” Panguban said.
Meanwhile, Jobert Pahilga, executive director of Sentra and also counsel for the Echanis family, said that the police should have at least investigated to determine why an identification card bearing a different name was found in the crime scene.
“It might have been planted there by his killers to muddle the situation and create this kind of confusing situation so that the family could not properly claim his cadaver. And the police can dispose of his dead body as they wish,” he said in a statement.
He added that this is the reason why Colabres was assigned to the funeral parlor to make sure that no one can claim the body of Echanis except his family.
“For all we know, a person who pretends to be a relative of one Manuel Santiago would appear at the favorite funeral parlor of QCPD and ask to cremate the body of Ka Randy,” he said.
He also said that the police can easily arrest Perez who had been in the Criminal Investigation and Detention Unit (CIDU) and Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) offices since Monday, Aug. 10 as she processed the release of Echanis’s remains.
“So please, QCPD stop the lies! Atty. Perez would not risk her license as a lawyer to go to the funeral parlor, claim a dead body, if she is not sure that the dead body is of Ka Randy,” he said.