The Department of Justice (DOJ) Administrative Order (AO) 35 Task Force has begun investigating the deaths of activists Randall Echanis and Zara Alvarez.


“The SITs (special investigation teams) for the two cases have been constituted and have started their work,” assured DOJ Undersecretary Markk Perete on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The DOJ OA 35 Task Force was formed as part of the DOJ-led Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Judicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right of Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.

The inter-agency committee was formed in 2012 pursuant to AO 35 issued by then President Benigno Aquino III.

“In our meeting with the SIT leaders two weeks ago, the secretariat directed them to get in touch with all relevant persons,” Perete said.

“We will have a monitoring and coordination meeting sometime this month,” the DOJ spokesman added.

With this, Perete revealed that the AO 35 secretariat is also “set to meet with the Echanis family this week.”

“We also encourage all parties, the colleagues of Alvarez included, to participate in this investigation,” he urged.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Echanis, 72, and Louie Tagapia, 48, were found dead on the morning of Aug. 10 inside their rented home in Barangay Nova Proper in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Several days later, Karapatan member Zara Alvarez was gunned down in Bacolod City last Aug. 17.

Source: Manila Bulletin (