Malacañang asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to ensure the safety of the newborn son of arrested peasant organizer Amanda Lacaba Echanis to avoid a repeat of the Reina Mae Nasino case.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday said the Palace is hoping that Echanis’ one-month old son will not suffer the fate of Nasino’s three-month old daughter, who was born in jail and separated from her mother before passing away.
Echanis, daughter of slain peace consultant Randy Echanis, was arrested early Wednesday morning in Baggao, Cagayan with her child. She was charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
The incident painted a reminder of Nasino, who was also arrested for illegal possession of firearms. She gave birth in July following her arrest at the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan office in Tondo, Manila.
Despite court appeals, Nasino was barred from seeing her baby, River, who succumbed to bacterial infection in the lungs in October.
“We hope it doesn’t happen again but I’m calling upon the DSWD to take steps to ensure that the welfare of the child will be protected,” Roque said in a televised briefing.
“It is not a reason that just because you have a child, you can no longer be jailed for your offenses. But it is always the rule that the government will take steps for the best interest of the child.”
Police recovered an M16 rifle and two hand grenades during the arrest of Echanis, but Anakpawis partylist asserted those were “planted evidence.”
Authorities also alleged that Echanis was a finance officer of the West Front, Komiteng Probinsya ng Cagayan under the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army operating in Cagayan Valley.
“We assert that Echanis was arrested on planted evidence. She just gave birth to her first child. We call on her immediate and unconditional release on just, humanitarian grounds,” Anakpawis said in a statement.
Her arrest came four months after her father was stabbed to death by unidentified men who barged inside his house in Quezon City.