Detained activist Amanda Echanis: 'Wala po akong baby armalite, baby lang'


Posted at Dec 08 2020 12:34 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2020 02:18 PM

MANILA - Detained activist Amanda Echanis on Tuesday denounced what she called were trumped-up charges filed against her by state forces, hoping for her immediate release.

"Sana makalaya na talaga kami ni baby dahil alam naman natin na hindi totoo, gawa-gawa lang 'yong mga kaso nila laban sa akin," she said in a video posted by Kapatid, a group of families and friends of political prisoners.

Video from Kapatid's Facebook page

(I hope I and my baby will be released because we know the charges brought against me are not true. They're made-up.)

The 32-year-old peasant organizer, who is detained at a police camp in Tuguegarao City together with her month-old baby boy, rejected police reports that firearms and explosives found inside the home where she was staying were hers.

"Yong kausap ko nga 'yong mga interrogator, wala po akong baby armalite, baby lang," she said.

(When I talked with the interrogators, [I said] I don't have a baby armalite, only a baby.)

"At wala po akong pasabog, pasabog lang na balita. Surprise, it's a boy. Wala eh. Gano'n lang."

(And I also don't keep explosives, just explosive news. Surprise, it's a boy. That's it.)

Despite her predicament, Echanis said she was not losing hope. Instead, the rampant red-tagging activity of state forces against activists and critics will only drive their causes, she added.

"'Yong mga mahihirap na sitwasyon, dapat hindi ito 'yong magpahina sa atin. Bagkus ito pa 'yong dapat na magpatatag," she said.

(These difficult situations should not weaken us but instead strengthen us.)

Echanis was arrested by soldiers and police officers in Baggao, Cagayan on Dec. 2 at 3 a.m. Authorities reportedly found grenades, an M16 rifle and ammunition in the house where she was staying.

She is the youngest daughter of Anakpawis leader Randy Echanis, who was killed inside his home in Novaliches, Quezon City in August. The murder remains unsolved.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police Gen. Debold Sinas had earlier denied the operating team planted the weapons against Echanis.

"'Yong mga sinabi nilang planting, hindi po totoo 'yon. Papano ka mag-plant ng mga baril na ito, mga bago, mga high-caliber. Mahirap po mag-plant no'n," he said.

(On their accusation it was planted, that's not true. How can you plant a high-caliber firearm? That's difficult.)

Sinas also claimed Echanis was part of the underground communist movement, but no one had yet come forward to directly testify against her.

However, Echanis' lawyer had refuted Sinas' claims, saying state forces "illegally" searched the house before the search warrant was served.


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