MANILA — Various organizations on Thursday demanded the immediate release of Amanda Echanis, daughter of slain Anakpawis leader Randy Echanis, and her 1-month-old baby boy amid fears that she would suffer the same fate of detained activist Reina Mae Nasino, whose child died this year after separation from her mother.
The daughter of the slain National Democratic Front consultant is currently detained in Camp Crame after she was arrested on Wednesday morning for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
She refused to leave her baby when she was arrested in Baggao, Cagayan on allegations she has links with the New People's Army.
Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas earlier in the day 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.
“She needs to be with her baby na one month, gusto ba natin matulad yan kay Baby River, hihina (do we want her baby to suffer the same fate as that of Baby River, who became weak), of course not, breast feeding mothers have the right to be with their children,” Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay said in reference to Nasino's baby.
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Groups Anakpawis, Amihan and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, meanwhile, stressed that the charges against Echanis, a community organizer on farmers issues, were fabricated.
“Napaka-incredible na bagong panganak na ina ay magtatago ng granada at baril sa kanyang kwarto na hindi pa nakaka-recover masyado sa panganganak,” Echanis’ lawyer Sol Paule said.
(It is incredible that a mother who just recently delivered her baby would hide a gun and grenade in her room, while still recovering from giving birth.)
The groups also stressed their call against the continued red-tagging efforts by state forces, which they said puts the lives of activists doing community work at risk.
Around the same time Echanis was arrested, the house of Anakpawis Cagayan Valley Chairperson Isabelo Adviento was also raided but he was not home at the time as he was doing community work in the aftermath of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses in the region.
“Nakakalungkot sino pa ang tumutulong siya pa ang masama, kami ay nare-red-tagging, terorista, recruiter ng mga NPA, 'yun po ay nakakalungkot na kinokonek ka sa hindi naman totoo,” Adviento said.
(It is sad that a person who is helping her community is deemed evil. We are always red-tagged, accused as terrorists and recruiters for the NPA. They were able to connect the dots which are not there, which is very sad.)
In August, Randy Echanis was killed inside his home in Novaliches, Quezon City. His slay remains unsolved.
He was killed by a group of armed men, who remain at large.