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Pesante Hails Transfer of Echanis to PNP Jail- A Tactical Victory

by Pesante-USA Wednesday, Sep. 03, 2008 at 12:45 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante-USA) hails the transfer of Randal Echanis, yesterday. Echanis, a persecuted leader of KMP, a veterans FQSM student leader and an NDF Peace Consultant PNP was transferred from the Manila City Jail to the PNP Jai. The transfer is a tactical victory in the interest of justice and lasting peace and was a demand of different human rights groups in the Philippines and in the U.S. Pesante Coordinator Arturo Garcia said: “Echanis should not have been transferred to the Manila City Jail from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, It is just a simple case of persecution and the SOP of the resurging and copycat martial law regime. The US-Marcos regime did the same when they transferred the political prisoners from the detention centers to Muntinglupa National Penitentiary and declared them as “public order violators”

Pesante Hails Transf...
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Pesante-USA News

Sept. 1, 2008



PESANTE-USA Hails Echanis Transfer to PNP, A Tactical Victory

Los Angeles- The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesante-USA) hails the transfer of Randal Echanis, yesterday.

Echanis, a persecuted leader of KMP, a veterans FQSM student leader and an NDF Peace Consultant PNP was transferred from the Manila City Jail to the PNP Jai. The transfer is a tactical victory in the interest of justice and lasting peace and was a demand of different human rights groups in the Philippines and in the U.S.

Pesante Coordinator Arturo Garcia said: “Echanis should not have been transferred to the Manila City Jail from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, It is just a simple case of persecution and the SOP of the resurging and copycat martial law regime. The US-Marcos regime did the same when they transferred the political prisoners from the detention centers to Muntinglupa National Penitentiary and declared them as “public order violators”

The US-Arroyo regime wanted to make Echanis as an example on how they will treat NDF consultants and staff. The made-up murder cases against the leadership of the NDF is what the US-Arroyo regime is doing now to MILF. That is why there is war in Mindanao. The US-Arroyo regime is not serious in making peace.

As long as NDF peace consultants like Echanis, Principe, Malayao and others are in jail and MILF commanders and mujahideens like Uztads Amaril Ombra Kato and Bravo are branded as common criminals by the regime, there can be no peace and war will be the order of the day.” said Garcia

FREE RANDALL ECHANIS AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, NOW!

********************

Appendix:

Peasant Leader Transferred

Manila--The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32 ordered on Monday the transfer of detained peasant leader, Randall ‘Ka Randy’ Echanis, from Manila City Jail back to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

"This court finds that the foregoing equitable considerations constitute sufficient ground for this court to reconsider and set aside its order dated August 28, 2008. Accordingly, let the accused be transferred back from the Manila City Jail to the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame," Presiding Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina said.

Bunyi-Medina thus reversed her earlier decision on the motion for reconsideration filed by prosecutors seeking to move Echanis to Manila City Jail last August 8.

Earlier, the court yielded to the motion after the prosecutors argued that Section 3 Rule 11 of the Revised Rules of the Court clearly states that a suspect, served with a warrant of arrest, should be brought to the nearest police station or jail without necessary delay. And since Manila City Jail is the nearest detention cell from the court, they deemed it proper that the accused should be held there.

Moreover, the prosecution maintained that Echanis was accused of murder, which is a common crime. Thus he must be prosecuted and detained like an ordinary criminal.

Wait for SC’s ruling

But after reviewing the arguments of both parties, the court saw an equity consideration in Echanis’ case, considering that the Supreme Court (SC) has not yet ruled over the pending resolution filed on July 27, 2007 on whether the rebellion charge filed against him in the Makati City Regional Trial Court will absorb the multiple murder charge filed at the RTC of Hilongos, Leyte.

Medina said that if the SC decides that the Makati City RTC will absorb the multiple murder charges, there is no need for the Manila RTC to continue its proceedings.

While waiting for the SC ruling on the petition, the court believed that Echanis should not suffer as an ordinary prisoner.

Medina said that they had also received a letter from Manila City Jail warden Emilia Culang requesting to return Echanis to the custodial center in Camp Crame at the soonest possible time.

Legislators hits Echanis’ transfer to Manila jail

Earlier, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano condemned the government, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP), for the "arbitrary" transfer of Echanis from PNP Custodial Center to the Manila City Jail.

"Echanis is a political prisoner. He should not be mixed with suspected common criminals," Mariano said in a press statement.

Mariano said Echanis’ lawyers were not informed of the transfer. He said that Echanis should be held at the PNP custodial center.

"We fear for Ka Randy’s security considering his status as a political prisoner. We’re also afraid that he will be subjected to tremendous suffering given the prison condition and his health condition," said the activist legislator.

He also warned the government would be held accountable if any untoward incident will happen to the peasant leader.

Echanis, who was transferred from Palo, Leyte to Camp Crame Friday, was charged with 15 counts of murder allegedly committed during a purge of suspected "spies and counter-revolutionaries" within the ranks of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), between 1985 and 1991.

He was arrested last January 28, 2007 in Bago City, Negros Occidental, while attending a conference on agrarian reform organized by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the National Federation of Sugar Workers and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.

PNP chief Director-General Avelino Razon Jr. said in a press release earlier that a Regional Trial Court in Leyte issued a warrant which the police used to arrest Echanis.

"The arrest of Echanis was lawful and was done in accordance with our Police Operational Procedures," Razon said.

False charges

Earlier, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, a co-accused of Echanis, charged military officials of lying and falsifying the charges against them by using recycled skeletons as supposed evidence of a mass grave. Ocampo said five of the 15 skeletons allegedly found in Hilongos, Leyte, which were used as evidence of the mass killings, were dug up in Barangay Monterico in Albay in 2004.

On April, the Supreme Court granted Ocampo provisional release on bail while the Court deliberated on his petition for certiorari and prohibition.

*********

* Courtesy of ABS-CBN News via internet

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