Cops did not plant the high-powered firearms found in the home of community organizer Amanda Echanis, Philippine National Police chief General Debold Sinas said today in an interview.
Amanda, the daughter of slain activist and former Anakpawis Chairman Randall Echanis, was arrested by the authorities along with her one-month-old son yesterday in the village of Carupian in Baggao, Cagayan. Anakpawis said in a statement that the arrest of the mother and son was illegal and that the police planted the firearms found in her possession.
Sinas said in an interview with cable channel ANC that Anakpawis’ allegation was false.
“What they said about planting [of evidence] is not true because how can you plant these guns. These are new; these are high-caliber. These are hard to plant [because] it’s her house,” the police chief said in English and Filipino.
Sinas added that Amanda decided to bring her baby to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s headquarters in Quezon City, where she is presently detained. Amanda was supposedly helped by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in bringing her child to the police outpost.
“She’s the one who wanted to bring along her child. She insisted on bringing him there. That’s why the police allowed her to do so, and we asked the DSWD to assist her,” Sinas said.
The police chief alleged without offering proof that Amanda, like her husband, is a member of the New People’s Army (NPA), the communist party’s military arm. The national government is on a campaign to crush the communist insurgency, the longest of its kind in Asia.
“It’s not true that she is not in the underground. Her husband is a leader of the armed group, the NPA in Cagayan Valley. That’s why they have firearms. You should ask her husband; he is part of the underground,” Sinas said.
However, Sinas admitted that they could not find anyone willing to testify against Amanda.
“The problem is, based on our report. No one wants to testify against her for us to file a case. That’s why when we learned that there were guns left in her house, that she has a gun, we applied for a search warrant,” he said.
Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte red-tagged several activist organizations and lawmakers, alleging without offering any proof that they were in cahoots with the Communist Party of the Philippines in its plan to oust his government.
An independent autopsy said that Randall, Amanda’s father, was tortured before suspected cops killed him in August. A former consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, he was involved in the peace talks between his group and the Duterte government from 2016 to 2017. Duterte permanently ended the negotiations in 2019.
This article, Sinas red-tags activist Amanda Echanis, says firearms in her home not planted by cops, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.