The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has welcomed the resolution issued by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) which stated that Keith Absalon, a 21-year-old football player at the Far Eastern University (FEU), and his cousin Nolven, suffered human rights violations after they were killed in a twin explosion allegedly perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The resolution of CHR-Bicol (Region 5) emanated from the complaints filed by Cristine Absalon, mother of Nolven, and Vilma Absalon, mother of Keith.
“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 Keith and Nolven and calling out those accountable,” said General Jose Faustino Jr., AFP Chief of Staff, on Monday, Oct. 18.
The Absalon cousins were victims of a twin improvised explosive device (IED) explosions in Brgy. Anas, Masbate City last June 6. They were biking when the IEDs were detonated on the roadside by suspected NPA rebels, who also fired shots from their rifles.
The CHR-Bicol, which launched an independent investigation on the case, said that the two IED blasts and seventy-nine fired cartridges recovered in the scene of the explosions were “proof of disproportionate force tossed to victims who could not afford to counter the attack.”
CHR 5 added that the death of the Absalons, proved of the suspects’ “willful disregard of victim’s right to life and security” as embodied under Article 3 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Section 1 of Article III (Bill of Rights) 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.
Brig. Gen. Alejandro Nacnac, director of AFP Center for Law of Armed Conflict, said the culprits and the leaders behind the killing of the Absalon cousins “should be prosecuted for these human rights and IHL [international humanitarian law] violations against innocent civilians.”
“They targeted the victims using IED and even fired gunshots deliberately inflicting severe damage and impunity,” Nacnac noted.
Meanwhile, the AFP Chief instructed the troops on the ground to work with other stakeholders and be more vigilant against the possible attacks of communist groups.
“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 to the rights of innocent civilians,” Faustino said.