MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte has vowed to hold accountable the members of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), who planted the anti-personnel mine (APM) in Masbate City that killed two civilians and wounded a minor.
Duterte would make sure that NPA insurgents would pay for the crime they did which led to the death of 21-year-old football player Kieth Absalon and his 40-year-old cousin, Nolven, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser on Thursday.
“Narinig po ni Presidente ang hiling at iyak ng pamilya ni Kieth ng hustisya lalo na at nagsabi ang pamilya na binaril ang mga biktima. Nangako ang Pangulo na masusi itong iimbestigahan at pagbabayarin ang may mga sala (The President learned of Kieth family’s cry for justice, especially since they claimed the victims were also shot. The President vowed to conduct a thorough investigation and hold the culprits accountable),” Roque said.
Kieth and his cousin were riding on a bicycle when a suspected APM planted by NPA guerillas detonated in Purok 4 in Anas village in Masbate City on June 6.
The two died while Nolven’s son, 16-year-old Chrisbin Daniel, sustained injuries.
Roque said the Palace condemns the CPP-NPA’s act which is an “international war crime.”
“Nakikiramay po kami sa pamilya ng football player Kieth Absalon at sa kaniyang pinsan na si Nolven na namatay sa isang pagsabog, pagsabog na inako ng CPP-NPA (We condole with the family of football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven who died in the APM blast. The CPP-NPA took full responsibility for it),” he said.
Roque lamented that the country lost Kieth who could bring pride to the country.
“Hindi lang pangarap ni Kieth ang naglaho sa kaniyang pagkamatay sa kamay ng CPP-NPA. Nawala rin ang karangalan na maaari niyang ibigay sa minamahal nating bansang Pilipinas dahil sa pagpatay na ito (It’s not just Kieth’s dream that fades after his death at the hands of CPP-NPA. We also lost the honor that he could give for the Philippines following his death),” he said.
The Armed Forces on the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday lauded the military and police personnel in Southern Luzon for the successful June 8 operation that neutralized three NPA rebels behind the unprovoked APM attack in Masbate.
The AFP is also working closely with the Philippine National Police in the filing of criminal cases against the perpetrators and violators of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity.
The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personal Mine Ban adopted by the international community.
The 1997 APM Mine Ban Convention, which takes effect in 1998, prohibits the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terror organization by the Philippines, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. (PNA)