News Release

Statement of Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on the recent attacks against rights defenders and activists

The Duterte administration condemns acts targeting human rights defenders and activists in the country.

Authorities have been directed to exhaust efforts to bring perpetrators behind the deaths of two activists to justice and strengthen the protection of civil society.

The Department of Justice, through its AO35 Secretariat or the Inter-Agency Committee On Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons, has formed a separate special investigating team on Mr. Randall “Randy” Echanis’ death. On the other hand, the body has also recommended the inclusion of and the conduct of an inquiry into Ms. Zara Alvarez’ death.

Reports that President Rodrigo Duterte has allegedly deterred information-sharing and coordination between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) are baseless, erroneous and misleading.

It is within the Duterte administration’s interest and policy to support the role of activists in a pluralistic society. The government has leveraged such role in pursuing the inclusive social agenda to promote programs and services for the welfare of all Filipinos.

Upholding the due process and rule of law will continue to be observed and promoted by this administration. We are invested in completing the investigations and prosecution of the perpetrators of such repulsive acts on political activists and seeing them brought to justice, for the families of their victims.