MANILA (UPDATE) - Amanda Echanis, who was arrested for alleged illegal possession of firearms and explosives, is part of the underground communist movement, Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas claimed Thursday.
Echanis, whose father Anakpawis leader Randy Echanis was killed in August, was with her 1-month-old baby when she was arrested in Cagayan on Wednesday. She is known to be a peasant community leader.
Sinas said both the police and the military know that the younger Echanis is part of the underground and that her husband is a leader of the armed communist group, New People's Army.
"Hindi po totoong wala ‘yan sa underground. Ang asawa niya ay lider ng armado sa NPA sa Cagayan Valley. Kaya nga may mga armas ‘yan. Kasi maski tanungin mo, ang asawa niya ay nasa underground," he told ANC's Headstart.
(It's not true that she's not part of the underground. Her husband is a leader of the armed NPA in Cagayan Valley. That's why she had firearms. You can ask around, her husband is in the underground.)
Sinas said no one had come forward to directly testify that Echanis is part of the movement, but police forces sought a search warrant upon the information that there may be firearms in her home.
"Ang problema lang, 'yung mga report namin, walang gustong mag-testify para ma-file-an ng kaso. Kaya nga nung natiktikan na may mga baril na may iniwan sa bahay nila, may baril siya, kaya nag-apply ng search warrant," he said.
(Problem is, our reports, no one wants to testify to file charges. That's why when we learned that there were firearms in their home, that she has a gun, we applied for a search warrant.)
He also denied that the operating team planted the firearms in Echanis' home.
"Yung mga sinabi nilang planting, hindi po totoo 'yun. Papano ka mag-plant ng mga baril na ito, mga bago, mga high-caliber. Mahirap po mag-plant nun, bahay niya 'yun eh," he said.
It was Echanis who insisted on bringing along her baby when she was arrested, and the police agreed to this and sought the assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, he said.
Anakpawis Party-list denounced Echanis' arrest, calling it illegal and insisting that she should be released immediately "on just, humanitarian grounds."