MANILA – Kieth Absalon, the football player from Far Eastern University (FEU) who was killed on June 6 in a New People’s Army (NPA) attack in Masbate, was specifically targeted due to his popularity and active promotion of sports among the youth that was contrary to the advocacy of communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
This was revealed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. at the recent virtual presscon of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“Why? Because they found out that Kieth is actively promoting sports and activities for the well-being of the youth na kontra sa adbokasiya ng (That is contrary to the advocacy of) CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA-NDF (National Demovcratic Front),” Esperon said.
He said the CPP-NPA-NDF also “want to show that they are still a force to reckon with, as many of their members have continued to surrender in Masbate.”
“Parang pananakot talaga ito sa tao, at yung pananakot na iyan ay sinamahan nila ng pagpatay. Kaya targeted talaga sila (It really seemed like a threat to the people, and that threat was accompanied by murder. So they are really targeted). Meaning they wanted to deliver a message to intimidate the population from whom they are losing support,” added Esperon, also the NTF-ELCAC Vice Chairperson.
He mourned for the loss of the FEU football player who was awarded the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Juniors Most Valuable Player in Season 78.
“We join the Absalons in their grief for their loss of a son and nephew in this unfortunate incident in Masbate. Nakakagulat talaga yung nangyari kina Kieth. Parang walang karason-rason at sa maling rason ay nawala isang kabataan na sana ay magbibigay ng isang magandang kinabukasan sa kanayang pamilya (What happened to Kieth was shocking. There was no any reason and for the wrong reason, a youth who would hopefully give his family bright future, was lost),” Esperon said.
He, however, assured the Absalon family that the Regional Task Force (RTF) in Bicol has already filed cases in court against the CPP-NPA-NDF and its key personalities for summarily executing Kieth and his cousin, Nolven, after blasting them with the banned anti-personnel mine (APM) last June 6 while biking.
“At ito nga ang pinaglalaban natin at tinutulungan natin ang pamilyang Absalon. At para dito ay sinasamahan tayo ng maraming nakikiisa sa atin hindi lang dito sa NTF-ELCAC (And this is what we are fighting for and we are helping the family of Absalom. And for this we are joined by many who join us not only here at NTF-ELCAC),” he said.
Meanwhile, Esperon pointed out that the RTF in Eastern Visayas will also be filing cases against the CTGs that killed and injured scores of unarmed soldiers and militiamen with another Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) in Jipapad, Eastern Samar on July 7.
He said the Jipapad incident only proves the continuing atrocities of the CTGs.
“Nakita natin kung gaano kalaupit at walang rason na violence na ginagawa ng (We have seen how cruel and unreasonable violence is committed by) CPP-NPA-NDF,” he said.
Esperon also acknowledged the move of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to condemn the violence committed by the NPA rebels.
"Just like us, the NTF-ELCAC, they are against violence, especially the violence carried out by an unreasonable ideology—which has gone out of control and gone out of reason for its existence. Kaya nga ang sinasabi natin ay dapat tuldukan na ito. At magsamasama tayo para sa madaling panahon ay matapos natin (That is why we are saying, we should stop this violence. Let’s unite so that we will end this as soon as possible),” Esperon said.
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. (PR)