THE Quezon City Police District (QCPD) on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, said the Echanis family has submitted fingerprint samples and photos to prove that Anakpawis Party-list chairman Randall Echanis was one of those killed in a house in Novaliches.
QCPD Director Ronnie Montejo said they will compare the samples submitted by the family with those taken from the remains of Manuel Santiago.
Police had identified the two persons killed in Novaliches before dawn of August 10 as Manuel Santiago and Louie Tagapia based on identification cards recovered from the crime scene.
The Echanis family and Anakpawis Party-list claimed that Santiago was Echanis, who was also a member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel.
Montejo said they will release the body of Echanis to his family if the samples match. If not, a DNA test would be conducted.
Montejo said that if the wife would appear before the police and explain her claim, the investigation would be easier.
From the crime scene, police brought the two bodies to the Pink Petals Funeral Homes.
Lawyers of Anakpawis, however, claimed the body and moved it to St. Peter’s Chapels.
Police recovered the body on Monday evening and brought it back to Pink Petals.
Police also arrested a paralegal staff of Anakpawis for alleged obstruction of justice.
In a statement, Echanis’ legal counsel Jobert Pahilga said the police do not have the right to demand for a DNA test before they release the body.
"The police has no power nor authority to require that DNA process because the wife, the children, the friends, and lawyers of Ka Randy positively identified that it is Ka Randy,” Pahilga said in a statement.
"No other person came out to claim the body of Ka Randy! The pictures of Ka Randy when he was still alive and the picture after he was brutally murdered shows it is Ka Randy," he added.
Under the Civil Code of the Philippines, the spouse has the primary duty and right to make arrangements for a person's funeral.
Pahilga said the police’s demand is "absurd, preposterous, unnecessary, and an insult to the family of Ka Randy”. It also violates the law.
"And forcibly seizing the remains of Ka Randy from his wife and family and requiring that DNA process be undertaken before it is released to them, is tantamount to cruel and degrading treatment punishable under the Anti-Torture Law," he said.
Pahilga accused the police of “cover-up” that is why they are prolonging the release of the body. (SunStar Philippines)