Randy Echanis was found dead in his apartment last August 10 at around 130am. A neighbor who rushed to his aid was also found dead. He had 24 stab wounds and a single gunshot wound in between his frontal and parietal bones in the skull. He was 72. He was a Filipino peasant leader and a peace maker.
Police report identified him as Manuel Santiago with descriptions not matching his height, age and built. In the evening of August 10, his cadaver was released from Pink Petals, the first funeral home where the police put him, he was brought to the funeral home chosen by the family for viewing. But minutes after it arrived to be embalmed, more than ten uniformed policemen arrived and forcibly took his body to be returned Pink Petals for further investigation. Police later on admitted that orders came from General Debold Sinas himself, police Director of the National Capital Region. Until now, the body has not yet been released even if the family already went and identified that it is him. In the early morning of Aug 11, while on vigil to look after the remains of Randy, paralegal Pao Colabres was forcibly taken in front of the funeral parlor and was taken to the police station. He was later on charged with obstruction of justice.
Randy Echanis fought for land reform in the Philippines for more than five decades. He was imprisoned in solitary confinement and was held incommunicado for more than 4 years during the Marcos dictatorship in the 1980s and again during Gloria Arroyo’s term in 2008. With his committed service to the Filipino peasants, he was elected as KMP’s Deputy Secretary General in 1999 and as Chairperson of Anakpawis Party-list (the toiling masses) and helped in drafting bills like the Genuine Agrararian Reform Bill (GARB), the Free Irrigation Law, and the Rice Industry Development Act which counters the rice liberalization policy in the country. Since 2002 he has helped in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front and worked as a member of the reciprocal working committee for social and economic reforms.
The Peasant Commission celebrates Ka Randy’s lifelong revolutionary commitment for genuine agrarian reform and rural development. It is with fervour of this kind that we are able to valiantly advance genuine change and work for a just and lasting peace in our countries. We cry for justice over the gruesome and brutal killing of Ka Randy! We see seek justice! We march forward!