Karapatan: Killing of Randy Echanis, the latest in the loathsome attacks on peace and peasant advocates

The killing of 72-year-old peace advocate and agrarian reform activist Randall "Randy" Echanis is "a cold-blooded and unpardonable extra-judicial execution," human rights watchdog Karapatan stated, as the group decried his killing as "the latest in a long list of atrocities and loathsome attacks on peace and peasant advocates under this fascist regime."

"We are enraged beyond measure. The despicable and shameless killing of Randy Echanis — in the middle of a pandemic that this government fails to stem — only shows that the dark and murderous forces of this militarist regime will not cease in their deranged rampage of killings and other gross human rights violations," Karapatan Chairperson Elisa Tita Lubi declared.

According to initial reports, Echanis was killed, along with a still unidentified neighbor, by suspected State forces who raided his rented house in Novaliches, Quezon City earlier this morning, August 10. He sustained several stab wounds while the other victim suffered grave head injury.

For his sustained and tireless advocacy work, Echanis was arrested and detained three times under presidents Ferdinand Marcos, Corazon Aquino, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He was a long-time peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and a member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Socio-Economic Reforms. He is currently the Anakpawis Partylist chairperson and deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

"How can we achieve genuine and comprehensive social and economic reforms, as well as just and lasting peace, if advocates like Randy Echanis are being vilified, threatened and traitorously silenced?  With alarm and anxiety but also with strong commitment to exact justice and accountability, we worry about the other NDFP peace consultants and leaders of the democratic movement, what with the emerging 'shoot-to-kill and take-no-prisoner' orientation of state security forces whom Duterte lovingly refers to as 'his soldiers'. All freedom-loving Filipinos and human rights defenders should not allow such ruthless acts to occur with impunity," Lubi continued.

"We in Karapatan feel the grief and mourning of the family, friends, and comrades of Randy Echanis.  He is another martyr in the family along with poet and activist Emmanuel Lacaba, his brother-in-law who was killed during the Marcos dictatorship. We promise to push for their demand for justice and accountability. If the bloodthirsty hounds of this fascist regime think that they can frighten and silence us, they are utterly mistaken," ended Lubi.