Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) have forcibly taken the body of slain activist Randall “Randy” Echanis from his wake in Quezon City, his wife Erlinda Echanis said last night.
In her statement today, Erlinda demanded that the police return Randall’s body to his family. She alleged that the PNP took the activist’s corpse from St. Peter Funeral Home on Quezon Avenue, then transferred it to the Pink Petal Funeral Homes in La Loma where his body remains heavily guarded.
Activist group Anakpawis, where Randall is chairperson, also said that a paralegal guarding Randall’s cadaver named Pao Colabres was arrested by the PNP early this morning for “obstruction of justice.”
The PNP admitted that it took the activist’s body because Erlinda has to secure a “release order” from them first before the Echanis family can bring home the cadaver. However, Erlinda’s lawyer Jobert Pahilga told Rappler that no such document exists.
Before Erlinda positively identified her husband’s body, the PNP alleged that the cadaver belongs to a certain Manuel Santiago, whose ID was allegedly found in Randall’s home where the activist was killed. The PNP also demanded that the cadaver undergo a DNA test first to certify that it is Randall’s body.
Randall was killed yesterday in his own rented house in Novaliches, where he was found with multiple stab wounds along with the body of his neighbor Louie Tagapia. Quezon City Police District Director Brig. Gen. Ronnie Montejo last night told reporters that he believes robbery and personal grudge were the main motives behind the killings. However, several groups, including Anakpawis, alleged that police forces and the Duterte administration had a hand in the activist’s gruesome murder.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año meanwhile, has ordered the PNP today to investigate the perpetrators behind the killing of the veteran activist.