Ecumenical group condemns Echanis killing

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Aug) – An ecumenical group has condemned last Monday’s killing of Anakpawis chairperson and National Democratic Front peace consultant Randall Echanis right in his own home in Quezon City.

The Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform (PEPP) composed of five major church groups also assailed the Philippine National Police for taking Echanis’s body from his family at the St. Peter’s Funeral Home and transferred to another funeral parlor.

The pastoral statement – signed by Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma, Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez and Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines – said they felt “utmost shock” by the killing and snatching of Echanis’s body.

The religious leaders demanded that the Commission on Human Rights conduct an impartial investigation to the killing of the NDF peace consultant.

“This horrific act of violence is further indication of the rising culture of impunity and deteriorating human rights situation in the country,” the group said in the statement issued Wednesday.

The group said the killing of Echanis was a “key component” in the peace process between the communist rebels and the government.

They said that together with the death of NDF peace panel chair, Fidel Agcaoili, Echanis’s death was a big blow to the peace process.

The ecumenical group said Echanis shared his knowledge and passion for what he termed as genuine agrarian reform as a key component for just and lasting peace.

“Both [Agcaoili and Echanis] are great losses for the peace process,” they said.

The group said Echanis is the second NDF peace consultant who met a violent death. The first was Randy Malayao whose murder last year was still unsolved.

The ecumenical group ended their statement with a call for the resumption of peace talks between the communist rebels and the government. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)