MANILA – The offer of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) to indemnify the Absalon family, who lost two of their members in an unprovoked anti-personnel mine (APM) attack last June 6, is laughable as the former claims they have a working justice system, a Palace official said on Friday.
"What can (I say) this is a very laughable statement. Nakatatawa ito kasi kung meron kang ginawang kasalanan (If you committed any infractions) and you're indemnifying, ang ibig sabihin niyan (it means that) there has to be a legal instrument for you to indemnify. So ibig sahihin, may korte (this means there has to be courts) But there is only one court in the country. So yun pagasabi nila ng ganyan parang nagpapalabas sila may sarili silang (the way they said is they have an existing) justice system," Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat executive director, Undersecretary Severo Catura said during the "Report to The National Media Forum of the National Press Club".
Catura said this claim seems more in line with the CPP-NPA's desire to project itself as a formal organization.
"Anong justice system (ang) sinasabi (nila) (what justice system they are talking about), ito ang image na kini-create nila (this is the image they are creating), they have a formal organization, may sarili silang korte (they have their own courts), may sarili silang (they have their own) grievance mechanism. There is only one justice system in the country and those are the Philippine court," said Catura, who is also National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) spokesperson for International Affairs, Peace Process, Human Rights Concerns.
The CPP-NPA earlier apologized to the Absalon family and offered to indemnify them for their loss, an offer which was rejected outright by the family's matriarch Vilma.
Killed in the June 6 APM attack were Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven while wounded was Keith's nephew, Chrisbin Daniel.
Case vs. Joma
Meanwhile, Catura said the latest APM attack will allow the government to file a formal case against CPP founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison.
"For the past several days, ang pinu-push talaga natin dito ay makasuhan ang (what we are pushing for is that they be charged) CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) lalo na sa paglabag nila sa (for their violations against) IHL (International Humanitarian Law). Lalo na ang paglabag nila sa provision na dapat mabigyan ng protection ang mga civilians na hindi sila kasama sa armadong alitan o hidwaan (especially on their violations on provisions calling for protection of civilians as they are not part of armed conflict)," he added.
Since the Philippines is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, Catura said it is part of the government's obligation to chase and charge individuals and any armed groups violating the international treaty.
Also, Republic Act 9851 also known as "An Act Defining and penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts and for Related Purposes" states that superiors of groups are responsible for the actions of their subordinates or members even if they are not aware of it.
Sison, he said, cannot deny being a leader of the CPP-NPA as even the US State Department has identified him as head of the terrorist group.
The use of APMs is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law and the 1997 Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention adopted by the international community, prohibiting the acquisition, production, stockpiling, and use of weapons.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also lambasted the communist terrorists' audacity in refusing to surrender the perpetrators of the mine blast, saying this only proves their crooked and evil ideology.
“Ang lalakas ng loob nilang pumuna sa pamahalaan at ginagamit pa nila itong instrumento para linlangin ang taumbayan pero ang sarili nilang tauhan bini-baby kapag nakapatay ng mga inosenteng sibilyan? Ito ay patunay kung anong klaseng ideolohiya meron ang mga grupong ito (How dare they criticize the government and still use this instrument to deceive the people but they condone their own people who kill innocent civilians? This is proof of what kind of ideology these groups have),” Eleazar said in a statement for ignoring calls to surrender their members in the killings of Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven Absalon.
Eleazar said the CPP-NPA did not even bother to sanction its own men for the Absalons' death.
“What can we expect from these rebels who are just pretending to be remorseful over their terrorist attack that killed Kieth and Nolven? They have never been sincere, in the first place, and we have expected this from them. The CPP-NPA will not listen to reason, stuck in their crooked and twisted way of thinking” he added.
Eleazar also vowed to bring the perpetrators of the incident to justice.
“Tutulungan po namin sila makakuha ng hustisya para sa kanilang mga mahal sa buhay dahil ang pamahalaang ito ay naniniwala na ito ay makakamit lamang kung maihaharap sa korte at mahahatulan ang mga salarin sa krimen at hindi sa simpleng pagso-sorry (We will help them get justice for their loved ones because this government believes that this can only be achieved if the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice and convicted and not by simply apologizing.),” he added.
Eleazar said only the culprits' arrest and conviction in court can make up for the death of the two innocent men. (PNA)