THE Quezon City Police District (QCPD) released the remains of Anakpawis Party-list chairman and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Randall Echanis to his family Wednesday evening, August 12, after fingerprint verification.
QCPD Director Ronnie Montejo said the family claimed the cadaver of Echanis from the Pink Petals Funeral Homes in La Loma and brought it to the Philippine General Hospital for the conduct of autopsy.
Echanis was one of two persons killed before dawn of August 10 inside his rented home in Novaliches.
Police, however, identified the fatalities as Manuel Santiago and Louie Tagapia based on identification cards found at the crime scene.
Montejo said the fingerprint samples submitted by the family matched with those of Santiago’s remains.
“Ibig sabihin si Randall Anacleto Echanis and Manuel Santiago is one at the same person napatunayan na rin po na iisang tao lang sila,” he said.
Former Anakpawis congressman Ariel Casilao said they will be filing criminal charges against the police for taking the body of Echanis “hostage”.
Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac, however, said no lapses were seen in the handling of the case.
He said it is normal procedure to confirm the identity of a dead person before releasing the remains to the family.
“Sa ngayon wala naman tayong nakikita na lapses doon sa pangyayari yun ay bahagi lamang ng procedure na ginampanan ng ating investigation body ang pagsasagawa ng proper identification ng isang tao lalo na ito ay isang dead body,” he said.
“Umaapela tayo ng pang-unawa na inabot ng dalawa o tatlong araw bago na-determine dahil based nga sa ebidensya na nakalap ito nga ay kinikilala bilang isang Manuel Santiago,” he added.
The Echanis family and Anakpawis paralegal team took custody of the body Monday evening and brought it to St. Peter’s Chapel.
Police, however, recovered the body and brought it back to Pink Petals, saying their investigation has not been completed.
The family was asked to prove that the body belonged to Echanis.
Meanwhile, Casilao said they believed that security forces were involved in the killing based on Echanis’ political affiliation.
Echanis was among those tagged by the government as a communist terrorist, especially after the peace talks between the government and the NDFP bogged down.
Banac urged the family to avoid making speculations as it will not help solve the case.
He said investigators were looking at robbery and personal grudge as possible motives.
They were also looking into why Echanis used the name Manuel Santiago.
Department of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered the creation of a special investigation team to resolve the killing. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)