With at least three government agencies reportedly investigating, family and friends of slain peace consultant Randall Echanis have yet to get a lead on who is behind his cold-blooded murder.
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — A month since the brutal killing of peace consultant Randall Echanis, farmers and land reform advocates assailed how justice remains elusive, saying that they have not heard anything from the Philippine police about their investigation.
“We will not allow this case to go cold and forgotten,” said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Chairperson Emeritus Rafael Mariano.
Echanis was stabbed to death in a rented house in Quezon City on Aug. 10. The preliminary autopsy, conducted by forensic pathologist Raquel Fortun, revealed he was “made to suffer before he was killed” as his remains bore injuries that were inflicted while he was still alive but the fatal one was the stab on the back.
Read: ‘Randall Echanis was made to suffer before he was killed’ – forensic expert
The Administrative Order No. 35 task force, which is tasked to supposedly investigate extrajudicial killings, was given 30 days by the Department of Justice to finish its investigation. Two other government agencies – the National Bureau of Investigation and the Commission on Human Rights – are also reportedly conducting their own investigation.
Still, human rights groups have long been calling for an impartial and independent investigation, not only of Echanis’s killing but also of Bacolod-based church worker Zara Alvarez, who was killed more than a week later.
“We are not expecting anything from PNP but as to how they will handle and treat this case will say a lot about their accountability on the killing of Ka Randy,” former Anakpawis lawmaker Ariel Casilao said.
Not yet off the hook
Mariano, who was also former agrarian reform secretary under the Duterte administration, said police officials who ordered for the “cadaver snatching” that ensued between police officers and the Echanis’s family should still be held accountable.
Land reform and peasant rights advocates are set to launch Justice for Echanis, Justice for All next week as they call for justice and “make accountable the perpetrators behind his brutal killing.”