Activists groups demanded Thursday the immediate release of Amanda Echanis, the daughter of the slain peasant leader Randall Echanis as they pointed out the military’s “modus operandi” of arresting individuals accused of supporting or members of communist rebel groups.
According to Maria Sol Taule of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Amanda’s arrest showed the same “pattern” as to how the police and military nabbed Reina Mae Nasino and other activists.
She said the “modus operandi” was to issue the supposed search warrant at nighttime, ideally without witnesses, and plant firearms and explosives, which authorities would then use to justify arrests due to illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Cristina Palabay, the secretary-general of human rights watchdog Karapatan, said hundreds of so-called political prisoners were jailed due to the same “modus operandi.”
Police reports said Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Regional Field Unit 2 and other PNP units imposed the search warrant at around 8:30 am. Judge Sheila Gacutan-Labuguen of the MTC 2nd Judicial Region (dated November 27, 2020) against Amanda Socorro Echanis, 32.
Activists: Release Amanda Echanis, 1-month-old son
During the search, authorities seized one unit M16 ARIS Colt 5.56mm assault rifle with serial number 4951346, one-piece long plastic magazine for the M16 rifle, one-piece long steel magazine for M16 rifle, six pieces live ammunition for M16 rifle, thirteen pieces of live ammunition for M16 rifle, one-piece live ammo for M16 rifle extracted from the chamber of the M16 rifle, one-piece hand grenade with marking 0689, one-piece hand grenade with marking frag MK2 with lot no.p-4-105-78 and subsequent arrest of Randy Echanis’ daughter.
However, Amanda Echanis’ supporters questioned why she would have such dangerous weapons in her house when she has a newborn baby with her.
Linda Lacaba Echanis, Amanda’s mother and Randall’s wife, said they were still in mourning her husband’s death when Amanda was arrested.
“Nananawagan kami na agad mapalaya ang aking anak na si Amanda at ang kanyang bagong silang na anak na lalake,” Linda said.
Meanwhile, Taule called on jail authorities to allow Amanda Echanis to breastfeed her baby, who is in custody with her.