Justice for Echanis, Justice for All – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – At the launching of the Justice for Echanis, Justice for All (JEJA) network yesterday at the Bantayog ng Bayani compound in Quezon City coinciding the 40th day of the death of Anakpawis Party-list National Chairperson Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis, Anakpawis Party-list former representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said that it was “40 days, zero justice,” as the investigation led by the Department of Justice (DOJ) still faces a blank wall, mainly due to its dependence on the reports of the Philippine National Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU).
“Denying the fact that Ka Randy was an activist and critic of the Duterte government, a former commander of the New People’s Army under the Marcos dictatorship, and a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for agrarian reform under the socio-economic agenda, is outright denial of the motive of his brutal murder. No sincere investigation could come out from disregarding this material circumstances,”Casilao said in a press statement.
He added that the DOJ is pursuing the track of the PNP’s initial pronouncement that Echanis could have been a coincidental victim of the crime actually targeting the other victim, Louie Tagapia, simply because he had a tattoo of a known gang.
He added that the DOJ, who included Echanis on its proscription list, among 649 individuals in February 2018, is missing the very basics in criminal investigation, which is the motive. Moreover, DOJ’s credibility for impartial investigation is undermined by its own 2020 Philippine Human Rights Situationer that accused Anakpawis Party-list as being created by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“While the PNP is notorious for its tokhang operations victimizing innocent civilians, and its regional units directly involved in killing farmers, the DOJ as an active agency in political prosecution and red-tagging, the attainment of justice for Ka Randy through their so-called investigation should be declared as ‘illusionary,’” Casilao slammed.
Ultimately, he stressed that JEJA as a people’s movement, composed of mass organizations of basic sectors and individuals upholding freedom and democracy in the country, and demanding justice of Echanis is a “beacon of hope” for holding the Duterte regime accountable for its human rights abuses.
“Akin to the cases of more than 260 peasants who fell victims to extrajudicial killings under Duterte’s watch, demanding justice for Ka Randy is more political than legal. No justice could be expected if the very menace against human rights and democracy is at the seat of power. Thus, this is beyond any investigation under the present regime. Justice and accountability are only attainable once Duterte leaves his post in a criminal regime against humanity,” he ended. ###
Photos by Justice for Echanis, Justice for All, Amihan and SAKA.