Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) chairman Chel Diokno on Tuesday (Aug. 11) demanded that the Philippine National Police (PNP) release the remains of slain National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Randy Echanis.
Diokno made the demand after the victim’s wife Erlinda accused the PNP of having forcibly take the remains from the funeral parlor.
“Immediately return the body of Mr. Echanis to his family,” the lawyer said in a statement as he expressed outrage over the killing and the forced taking of the remains of Echanis.
Aside from this, Diokno said the PNP also release the paralegal who got arrested without warrant when the body was taken as well as administratively discipline policemen involved in taking the remains.
“FLAG also expresses outrage at the brazen act of the Quezon City police snatching the remains of Mr. Echanis from his grieving family and friends. That is cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment defined as torture by the law. There is certainly no legal or moral justification for the indignity inflicted on the grieving family and friends of Mr. Echanis.
“The role of the police is to enforce the law, not break it. Their job is to investigate killings, not whitewash them. Mr. Echanis and Mr. Tagapia deserve justice. The first step towards that is uncovering the truth. The brazen misconduct of the Quezon City Police obscures that truth,” he pointed out.
Echanis and Louie Tagapia were killed inside a rented house in Quezon City last Monday (Aug. 10).
Diokno has also appealed to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to order the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate the killing as well as allow the family to have an independent forensic pathologist to conduct an autopsy of Echanis.
The lawyer also asked the PNP to turn over its investigation and cooperate to the NBI.