Duterte assures justice for death of footballer Absalon, cousin

President Duterte has assured the family of slain football player Keith Absalon and his cousin that those responsible for the death of the victims will be brought to justice.

Keith Absalon (Photo from Malaya FC)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) took full responsibility for the death of Absalon and his cousin Nolven over the weekend in Masbate City.

In his press briefing on Thursday, June 10, Malacañang extended its condolences to the bereaved family of the footballer from the Far Eastern University (FEU) and condemned the killing.

"Nakikiramay po kami sa pamilya ni football player Keith Absalon at sa kanyang pinsan na namatay sa isang pagsabog na inako ng CPP-NPA (We extend our condolences to the family of footballer Keith Absalon and his cousin who died in a blast that the CPP-NPA took full responsibility for)," he said.

"Mariin po namin itong kinokondena (We strongly condemn this)," he added.

According to Roque, President Duterte assured the family of Absalon that the case will be investigated thoroughly.

"Narinig po ni Presidente ang hiling at iyak ng pamilya ni Keith ng hustisiya lalo na at nagsabi ang pamilya na binaril ang mga biktima (The President heard the wish and the cries of Keith's family for justice, especially since they claimed that the victims were shot)," he said.

"Nangako ang Pangulo na masusi itong iimbestigahan at pagbabayarin ang may sala (The President vowed that this will be thoroughly investigated and those guilty will be held responsible)," he added.

The CPP-NPA said in a statement that they "expressed their deep remorse" over the killing of the two while they were biking last Sunday, June 6.

However, Roque said what the CPP-NPA did was an international war crime.

"Pwede pong hulihin, litisin, at parusahan ang mga tao na gumamit ng pasabog na ito kahit saang parte ng daigdig (Those behind this explosion can be arrested, tried, and punished wherever they are in the world) because what they did is a crime against the international community," he said.

He likewise lamented the colorful future that Absalon may have had if he was not killed.

"Hindi lang pangarap ni Keith ang naglaho sa kanyang pagkamatay sa kamay ng CPP-NPA. Nawala rin ang karangalan na maaarin niyang ibigay sa minamahal nating bansang Pilipinas dahil sa pagpatay na ito (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.

This week, President Duterte reiterated that he will not talk to the communist rebels anymore, saying they were arrogant and were asking for too much.