Amnesty International called for an immediate investigation into the killing of Philippine peace advocate and peasant leader Randall “Randy” Echanis on August 10.
“Authorities should investigate the cold-blooded murder … and those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Butch Olano, section director of Amnesty International Philippines.
Olano noted that killings in the country “continue unabated even in the midst of a deadly pandemic” and Echanis’ death is “yet another addition to the intensifying attacks against political activists.”
“Public safety and respect for human life and human rights has been cast aside since the beginning of [the Duterte] administration. This legacy of death must end now,” added Olano.
On August 10, Echanis was killed in his rented home in Quezon City by still unidentified individuals who were reportedly seen leaving his house.
Media reports said Echanis sustained stab wounds.
Echanis was among the hundreds of individuals that the Department of Justice asked a court to declare as “terrorists” in 2018.
Along with others, his name was eventually removed from the list that initially included then UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
Another NDFP consultant and peace advocate, Randy Malayao, was shot dead by still unidentified individuals in January 2019 in Nueva Vizcaya province.
Several other individuals who have been “red-tagged” or labeled as communists or terrorists have also been killed since the beginning of the Duterte administration.
Echanis, 72, was deputy secretary general of peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. He led nationwide campaigns for agrarian reform including free land distribution to farmers.
He was instrumental in the crafting the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, which was repeatedly filed in Congress since 2007. He became Anakpawis’ third nominee during the 2010 party-list elections.
Echanis was a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms. He participated during the 2016-2017 peace talks with the Duterte administration that tackled Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.
The peasant activist was arrested and detained three times during the administrations of former presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, and Gloria Arroyo.