PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte cannot intervene in the case of slain National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant Randall Echanis, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
In an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte would leave it to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe into the killing of Echanis.
“It’s being investigated now. It’s not just the police investigating it. It’s the NBI now, through the Department of Justice,” Roque said. “It’s very difficult for anyone, including the President, to interfere. So he will allow the process to continue.”
He issued the statement after Echanis’ widow, Erlinda, urged Duterte to intervene in the case of her husband.
Echanis and his neighbor, Louie Tagapia, were found dead inside the peasant leader’s apartment in Novaliches, Quezon City early Monday morning.
A police report said Echanis had multiple stab wounds on different parts of his body, while Tagapia sustained a head wound.
Besides the stab wounds, Echanis’ body bore torture marks and gunshot wounds, his wife said.
The Quezon City Police District identified Echanis as a certain Manuel Santiago, based on the identification card recovered from the crime scene.
Echanis’ wife, however, positively identified her husband’s body.
Due to the confusion, the NBI was directed on Tuesday to carry out a separate investigation to determine the identity of the person slain in Quezon City.
Roque said Duterte would let the PNP and NBI exercise their independence as they conduct a probe into Echanis’ killing.
“Because there are questions about the identity, we now have the modern technology that will guide us,” he said. “I think the President, as a lawyer, will allow investigators to proceed.” PNA