The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) last night returned the body of slain activist Randall “Randy” Echanis a few days after they forcibly took it from his family.
QCPD released Randy’s body from the Pink Petal Funeral Homes in La Loma, Quezon City at around 8pm last night after saying that they had positively identified the activist’s corpse through a fingerprint test, confirming what his wife Erlinda Echanis and Randy’s colleagues had already attested and known all along.
The long-time peace consultant and Anakpawis chair was killed in his rented home in the wee hours of Monday. The police initially identified Randy’s corpse as one Manuel Santiago citing an ID card that was allegedly found on the crime scene.
Erlinda positively identified her husband’s corpse Monday night saying that the activist’s body bore “torture marks, multiple stab wounds and gunshot wounds.” She took the body to their funeral of choice in St. Peter Funeral Home on Quezon Avenue, only for the police to take it the next day, claiming that Randy’s family needed to secure a release order to bring home his body. Erlinda’s lawyer Jobert Pahilga had reiterated that no such document exists.
Despite his wife’s positive identification, the police had insisted on keeping the activist’s body at Pink Petal Funeral Homes until they could verify through tests that it was his.
Randy’s body will be taken to the Philippine General Hospital where it is scheduled for an autopsy.
The motive behind the 72-year-old’s killing is still under investigation, however several groups, including Anakpawis, alleged that police forces and the Duterte administration were behind the activist’s gruesome murder.
Atty. Pahilga told cable news ANC this morning, that they are filing legal action against the QCPD over its poor handling of the slain activist’s body, adding that they have “caused considerable moral and mental anguish to the family and friends of Randy.” The lawyer said that on top of the activist’s brutal murder, the police had “created so much trouble” and did not allow “Randy to rest in peace.”
The lawyer added that they are distrustful of QCPD’s investigation, and preferred that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) conduct the probe instead.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has already ordered NBI to conduct its own investigation into the incident.
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