AFTER the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) admitted the errors committed by one of the units of its armed wing New People’s Army, the government declared it will run after the rebels that were behind the incident.
Presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said in a press briefing that President Rodrigo Duterte promised the family members of Keith Absalon, a 21-year-old football player of the Far Eastern University, and his cousin Novel Absalon, a 40-year-old labor leader, that those responsible in the Masbate City blast would be held accountable.
“The President heard the request and cries of the family and he promised that he will hold those behind this crime accountable, especially since they said the victims were also gunned down,” Roque said.
The CPP-NPA previously admitted and took full responsibility for the improvised explosive device blast on Sunday that killed the two victims, and wounded Noven’s 16-year-old son, Chrisbin Daniel.
In a statement, Malacañang also condemned the incident which Roque described as a clear commission of an international crime, even as it extended its condolences to the bereaved family of Absalon.
“We extend our condolences to the family of football player Keith Absalon, and his cousin, Noven,” Roque said.
“What the CPP-NPA did was an international crime and they should be punished for it. We strongly condemn this,” added Roque.
Absalon was at the peak of his colorful career at the time of the incident. He was named most valuable player of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines in 2016, and formed part of the team which competed in the 2018 Asean Football Federation Championships in Indonesia as a member of the Under 19 Philippine team.
“It’s not just Keith’s dreams that disappeared because of his death in the hands of the CPP-NPA. We also lost whatever honor he may have brought to the Philippines,” Roque said.
Authorities earlier said the NPA planted the explosive device that went off while the victims were cycling in the area, supposedly heading to their relatives in Barangay Titong.
The CPP has since expressed its “deep remorse” over the incident, saying it was a result of “errors in the military action mounted by an NPA unit in Barangay Anas” where the tragedy happened. However, it seemingly refused to turn over to the government the rebels responsible for the deaths of the Absalon cousins.
“In line with the NPA’s rules, they can be meted out with disciplinary action or punishment corresponding to their individual responsibilities and conduct during the incident,” the CPP said.