MANILA, Philippines — The local communist party in Masbate province is currently looking into a landmine explosion incident that claimed the lives of two individuals, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has assured the public.
CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena said on Monday the local party and the New People’s Army (NPA) command in the area are checking if communist rebels are indeed responsible for the anti-personnel landmine blast that led to the death of Far Eastern University football player Keith Absalon and his cousin Nolven Absalon.
“The incident yesterday in Masbate City where an explosion resulted in the death of cousins Keith and Nolven Absalon is being investigated by the local Party committee and NPA command in the area, to determine the surrounding circumstances of the incident and whether or not there is truth to the police claim that a local unit of the NPA is involved,” Valbuena said in a statement forwarded to INQUIRER.net.
According to Valbuena, if the investigation would reveal that a local NPA unit was indeed responsible for the incident, they would provide indemnification for the victims families while assuring that those responsible would be reprimanded.
“If the investigation will show a grievous error on the part of the NPA, there will be appropriate resolutions to ensure that there will be necessary indemnification of the victims and correction on the part of those who erred,” he claimed.
“We would like to express our sympathies to the Absalon family as they face this tragedy,” he added.
Earlier, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) reminded both the NPA and the government forces to respect the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), which prohibits the use of anti-personnel landmines.
CHR stressed that such weapons cannot distinguish who it would annihilate whether they are combatants or noncombatants, like the case of the Absalon cousins who were reported to be just cycling in the area.
READ: Gov’t, NPA told to obey Int’l Humanitarian Law after Masbate mine blast killed 2 civilians
During the explosion, Nolven’s 16-year-old son also sustained several injuries.
READ: 2 killed, teen hurt in Masbate blast
The Philippine National Police (PNP) in the region pinned the blame on NPA rebels, whom Masbate officers said they encountered in a 10-minute firefight. Afterwards, PNP said that local police discovered and seized more improvised explosive device from the rebels’ previous position.
READ: Police seize explosives after clash with suspected NPA rebels in Masbate
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said that he has already directed the local police to coordinate with the military units in the area to launch manhunt operations against the suspects.
READ: PNP orders manhunt for suspects in Masbate blast
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