MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday lauded the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region 5 (Bicol) stating that collegiate football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven suffered human rights violations and abuse during the unprovoked attack by communist terrorists last June.
The CHR Bicol's resolution, dated July 7, stemmed from complaints filed by Nolven's mother, Cristine T. Absalon, and Vilma B. Absalon, mother of Kieth.
The resolution also said the victims' families and heirs must get due compensation.
“Senseless violence that victimizes innocent civilians has no place in a democratic, progressive society such as ours. We in the AFP laud the CHR’s work protecting the likes of Kieth and Nolven and calling out those accountable,” said AFP chief of staff Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. in a statement.
Both Kieth and Nolven were killed while Kieth's nephew, Chrisbin Daniel, was hurt in an anti-personnel mine (APM) attack that transpired in Barangay Anas, Masbate City last June 6.
At least 24 NPA members have been charged with murder and frustrated murder by the Masbate City police before the City Prosecutor’s Office over the incident.
The incident is believed to be perpetrated by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Masbate City.
“With the help of the CHR, our units on the ground are now equipped with the knowledge to advance and protect the principles of human rights. We will continue to be vigilant as we monitor and report on the communist terrorist group’s lack of respect for the rights of innocent civilians,” Faustino said.
According to the CHR Bicol, the blasts and 79 fired cartridges recovered at the scene of the explosions were proof of disproportionate force applied to victims who could not afford to counter the attack.
It added that the acts of the communist terrorists, which resulted in the death of the victims, prove their willful disregard of the victims' right to life and security as embodied under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Section 1 of Article III of the Philippine Constitution, Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity and Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code.
AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict director, Brig. Gen. Joel Alejandro Nacnac earlier said “the use, stockpiling, manufacturing and transporting of an improvised explosive device (IED) which is considered as an anti-personnel mine (APM) is prohibited under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and penalized under Section 4(c)(25)(iv) of RA 9851.”
“The culprits including their leaders should be prosecuted for these human rights and IHL violations against innocent civilians. They targeted the victims using IED and even fired gunshots deliberately inflicting severe damage and impunity,” he added.
In a statement Tuesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) also welcomed the CHR Bicol's resolution.
“The PNP hails this resolution from the CHR Region V as it highlighted the blatant disregard of the communist rebels to the right of innocent people to live. Sa pamamagitan ng resolusyon na ito, napagtibay din ang katotohanan na ang kanilang mga sarili lamang ang iniisip ng mga rebeldeng ito (This resolution proves the truth that these rebels are selfish)," PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo said.
He also said the PNP would continue coordinating and working with the military to put to justice these communist terrorists who threaten the security of communities.
The Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)