Activist groups on Monday pinned the death of peasant activist Randall “Randy” Echanis on President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration’s “culture of extrajudicial killings.”

Echanis’ death was announced by Anakpawis party-list, saying the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant was killed along with a neighbor by five suspects believed to be state forces, inside a rented house in Novaliches.

Former Anakpawis congressman Ariel Casilao said Echanis “was undergoing medical treatment and unarmed” when his house was raided by police forces.

“Our anger is beyond words. This is a culture of extrajudicial killings with impunity under the Duterte regime. This is a declaratory act that national leaders of legal-democratic movement are now targeted to be killed by the Duterte regime. The entire civil society, human rights advocates and freedom fighters must totally denounce this criminal act,” Casilao said in a statement.

“Duterte has already signed the death order of activists and peace consultants upon the enactment of the anti-terrorism law. We will seek justice for Echanis and other victims of state-sponsored killings, at any cost,” he added.

Echanis, 72, was also the deputy secretary general of militant peasant organization, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

“KMP calls for national indignation and protest on the killing of Echanis. We have all reasons to believe that this is the handiwork of state forces and mercenaries of the Duterte government,” KMP said in a statement.

‘Wait for investigation results’

In a text message to reporters, Palace spokesman Harry Roque urged activist groups to wait for the results of the police investigation before blaming anyone.

“Let’s wait for results of police investigation before pinning the death of Echanis on anyone,” he said.

Echanis had participated in peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Philippine government since 2002. He also served as consultant for the forging of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms particularly on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. John Ezekiel J. Hirro