MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is appealing to the police officers who arrested Amanda Echanis, daughter of slain Anakpawis Chairman Randall Echanis, to give “primordial consideration” to her one-month-old son, while treating her humanely and properly while the case is being processed.
CHR said on Thursday that authorities should consider the welfare of the infant, in line with international laws.
Echanis was arrested early Wednesday morning in Barangay Carupian Baggao in Cagayan for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
“Considering that Echanis just gave birth, CHR reminds concerned authorities to give primordial consideration to the welfare of the one-month-old baby as required by the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders or the Bangkok Rules,” CHR said in a statement posted on its social media accounts.
“As an accused who is deemed innocent until proven guilty in court, it is also expected that Echanis will be treated humanely and justly, as with all persons deprived of liberty, in line with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners or the Nelson Mandela Rules,” it added.
After the arrest, operatives said they seized from Echanis’s house an M-16 assault rifle, a magazine, two hand grenades, and other ammunition.
Echanis is accused of being the finance officer of the West Front-Komiteng Probinsya ng Cagayan (KOMPROB) of the New People’s Army Cagayan Valley Regional Party Committee.
But the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) — which Randall Echanis used to be a part of — accused police officers of planting evidence, claiming that it to be a common practice in Negros Oriental back when Debold Sinas, who is now Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, was still in charge of the area.
But Sinas insisted on Thursday that no planting of evidence happened since the items seized were new high-caliber firearms and that the house in which they were found belonged to Echanis.
According to the CHR, the arrest of Echanis is the latest in a “string of arrests and attacks against alleged members of the New People’s Army”.
The commission also vowed to investigate the incident.
“Her father, Randy Echanis, Chair of Anakpawis and Deputy Secretary General of KMP, was slain last 10 August 2020, and his death remains unsolved,” the CHR said.
“We reiterate that ideological beliefs and political affiliations are not grounds to undermine a person’s right to due process and fair trial among others. Peaceful, non-violent, and legal ways to disagree and/or oppose the government are within the purview of protection of the Philippine Constitution,” it added.