Friday, February 5, 1999 Published at 05:51 GMT
Countdown to Philippines execution
Echegaray is led out to the Death Chamber
Prison officials in the Philippines are preparing for the country's first execution in more than two decades.
The Philippines Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal to halt the execution and said he would be put to death as scheduled.
Echegaray, a 38-year-old house painter, was taken from the main block of the New Bilibid Prison at dawn and driven to an adjacent execution chamber in full view of a media throng.
Security was tight around the prison in the Manila suburb of Muntinlupa. Nearby schools were closed and barbed wire barricades erected at the prison gates to hold back large numbers of reporters and both pro and anti-death penalty campaigners.
The condemned man will remain in a holding cell where he will eat his last meal and meet relatives and friends for the last time before being put to death.
Accompanied by a priest and surrounded by prison guards holding his arms, Echegaray wore a button on his chest reading "Execute justice not people," and carried a Bible.
He wore an orange wristband marked with the word "Erap" - a nickname for President Joseph Estrada, who has refused to reconsider his case.
But Zinaida Javier, who Echegaray married in prison last December, maintained her husband was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted in 1994 - repeatedly raping his 11-year-old step-daughter by a previous wife.
The Philippines abolished capital punishment in 1987 but restored it in 1994 for "heinous" crimes such as rape, drug-trafficking, murder and kidnapping.
The planned execution has prompted a fierce debate in the Philippines. The powerful Roman Catholic church is strongly opposed, but correspondents say most Filipinos believe it will reduce the soaring crime rate.
The Vatican, human rights group Amnesty International, the European Union and Canada have all appealed to President Estrada to halt the execution and abolish the death penalty - requests which he has denied.
Echegaray was to have been executed on 4 January but the Supreme Court ordered a last-minute delay to allow congress to review the death penalty legislation. However legislators voted not to undertake a review and the court ordered the execution to proceed.
The condemned man will be taken to the deathbed and strapped down shortly before 0700 GMT, officials said. He will be asked for his last words before three injections are administered - one to calm his body, the second to put him to sleep and the third to stop his heart.