Following is a statement from the Socialist Unity Party:
We of the Socialist Unity Party and Struggle-La Lucha newspaper in the United States are shocked and appalled by the cruel and cowardly murder of Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis, chair of the Anakpawis Party-List in the Philippines, along with a neighbor who came to his assistance. We condemn his assassination as a crime against all who labor, against all those who are exploited and oppressed, in the Philippines and all over the world.
We hold the murderous Duterte regime, its Davao death squads and the Philippine military responsible for this monstrous deed. Its backers and funders in the Trump regime and Pentagon are also guilty.
We condemn the seizure of his body and mistreatment of his family and friends by the Quezon City Police and demand the body be released to his family now.
Randy Echanis devoted most of his 72 years of life to the people, especially to the peasants, farmworkers and tillers in the Philippines. He worked and sacrificed for decades in their cause, most recently as national chairperson of the Anakpawis Party-List and deputy secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, the Peasant Movement of the Philippines.
He also served as a political consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines during the peace talks with the Philippines government, focusing on the urgent need of the peasant masses for real agrarian reform. He helped craft the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill, which aimed to break up the big landlord monopolies and give land to the landless.
Randy was murdered — stabbed and shot to death — during a raid of his own home, despite his being ill and undergoing medical treatment. Later that night, 10 police forcibly took Randy’s body from the funeral home where he was laid and took him to another. Early the next morning, the Philippine National Police arrested Pao Colabres, a paralegal, who was guarding Randy’s body during a vigil.
It is painfully evident that state forces, led by the U.S.-backed President Rodrigo Duterte, are responsible for the murder of Ka Randy. It is also evident that what Ka Randy represented and fought for — land for the landless, the breakup of the land monopolies — challenges the interests of Duterte and the Philippine state, a government by and for the big landlords, compradors and imperialist monopolies.
Today in the U.S., millions are rising up against police terror and murder, which especially targets the Black community. We see the struggle against state terror as the same here and in the Philippines. The bloody hand that murdered Ka Randy and so many activists in the Philippines is no different than the hand that murdered George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and so many others in the U.S. It is the hand that murdered Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King Jr.
The state terrorists in the Philippines carried out this murder in a way calculated to horrify and terrify the people of the Philippines, to silence their cries for peace and justice. It will not work. Such crimes have never stopped the people’s struggle for justice and freedom. It will not save the criminal regime of Rodrigo Duterte or the system he represents from its ultimate downfall.
Struggle-La Lucha and the Socialist Unity Party send our deepest condolences and solidarity to Randy’s partner, Erlinda Lacaba-Echanis, and to all of his family, friends and comrades. We continue to support the struggle to topple the tyrant Duterte and win liberation for the Filipino people.
Justice for Ka Randy! Justice for the workers and peasants of the Philippines! Down with the criminal Duterte regime!
Condemnation of the murder of Randall Echanis
By Jose Maria Sison
Chief political consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
August 10 — In the strongest terms, I condemn the murder of Randall (Randy) Echanis and his neighbor, who were unarmed. Randall was a peaceful social activist. He was a mild-mannered man of 72 years. He had a consistent modest personality with a high level of education and intellect. He had long dedicated himself to his social advocacy and had made tremendous sacrifices for many decades.
He was outstanding as an advocate of genuine land reform, rural development and national industrialization. He was the national chairperson of the Anakpawis Party-List and deputy secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. He was a leading consultant of the NDFP on agrarian reform and member of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms. He played a key role in the drafting of documents on agrarian reform and rural development and the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms.
Even after the termination of the peace negotiations by Duterte, Randall was supposed to enjoy the protection of the safety and immunity provisions of the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee) just like all the other negotiators, consultants and staff of the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and NDFP in the peace negotiations. Duterte and his gang of butchers are truly monstrous for murdering the unarmed Randall and his neighbor.
It is widely known that Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año has been boasting to his staff and other people that he has mapped out the locations of all social activists through the local governments and neighborhoods and that he can wipe them out any time. This boasting of Año is taken seriously by all the social activists that he threatens to kill.
With the murder of Randall and his neighbor, the Duterte gang of butchers has aroused the indignation and just wrath of the peasant masses and the entire Filipino people. All social activists have no choice but to intensify in every necessary way their struggle against the tyrant, traitor, butcher and plunderer Duterte.
The murder of Randall and his neighbor will have far-reaching consequences towards the intensification of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation against the evil Duterte regime and the unjust ruling system of big compradors, landlords and corrupt officials who are servile to foreign monopoly capitalism.