Don’t blame gov’t for Echanis slay, Palace to Sison

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

August 11, 2020, 2:31 pm

<p>Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque <em>(File photo)</em></p>

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has no hand in the murder of National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Randall Echanis, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

In a virtual press conference in Davao City, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the government should not be blamed for the death of Echanis.

Roque issued the statement a day after Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria “Joma” Sison blamed Duterte and the President’s “gang of butchers” for the killing of Echanis.

Roque told Sison to await the results of the investigation before making conclusions.

“Iniimbestigahan po iyan ng ating kapulisan. Huwag sana pong mabilis magbintang sa gobyerno dahil ang CPP-NPA (New People’s Army), nagkaroon din naman po sila ng karanasan na sila-sila nagpapatayan (Police are investigating. Do not blame the government because members of the CPP-NPA also has a history of killing each other),” he said.

Echanis and his unidentified neighbor were killed in Novaliches, Quezon City early Monday morning when police forces allegedly raided the house of the long-time NDF consultant, according to a statement released by leftist group Anakpawis.

Anakpawis said Echanis was reportedly “stabbed by suspected state forces inside his rented place in the wee hours of the morning.”

Apart from being an NDF consultant, Echanis served as chair of Anakpawis and deputy secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

Echanis is the third NDF consultant killed in the country after Sotero Llamas in 2006 and Randy Malayao in 2019.

In a statement issued Monday, Sison said “Duterte and his gang of butchers are truly monstrous for murdering the unarmed Randall and his neighbor.”

Sison added that social activists were left with no choice but intensify their struggle against the “tyrant, butcher and plunderer Duterte” following the death of Echanis.

When sought for a reaction, Roque refused to comment further on Sison’s remarks against Duterte government.

“Hindi ko na po sasagutin iyan dahil (I would no longer answer that because) that would be to dignify statements made by a worldwide notorious terrorist named Joma Sison,” Roque said.

The CPP-NPA has been branded as a terror organization by the Philippines, United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In May, Duterte said his administration is ready to fight the CPP-NPA and also willing to “die for the country.” (PNA)