Remulla to order transfer of investigation on deaths ‘due to NPA’s landmine’ in Masbate to Manila

Published September 23, 2022, 3:50 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla said he will order the transfer to Manila of the preliminary investigation being conducted in Masbate on the deaths of two persons when a landmine “planted” by the New People’s Army (NPA) exploded.

Far Eastern University (FEU) football player Keith Absalon and his cousin, Nolven Absalon, died on June 6, 2021 when a landmine exploded while they were biking. Nolven’s 16-year-old son was also hurt during the blast.

After the incident, the NPA admitted having planted the landmine and even apologized to the Absalon family and offered indemnification which was rejected.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) filed before the Masbate City prosecutor’s office multiple murder and attempted murder complaints against at least 24 suspected NPA members.

Remulla said he was visited at his office in Manila last Tuesday, Sept. 20, by the parents of the victims of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, NPA.

Among his visitors, Remulla said, were the parents of Keith and Nolven.

“Personal na inilahad ng mga magulang nila ang problemang nangyayari sa kaso na dinidinig sa Masbate (The parents personally narrated the problems in the hearing the case that was filed before the prosecutor’s office in Masbate),” he said.

“Dahil dito, ipapalipat na natin ito sa Maynila para personal na matutukan sa tulong nina Prosecutor General Banedicto Malcontento at Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon (Because of this, I will order the transfer of the case to Manila so that it will be given attention by Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento and Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon),” he assured.

Remulla noted that the other parents who visited him told him that their children were recruited by the CPP and NPA and are now either dead or missing.

“Galit sa NPA at pangungulila naman ang maririnig mo sa bawat bigkas ng salita ng iba sa kanila (Anger and sadness were heard and seen while some of them were narrating their sad experience,” he lamented.

“Ramdam ko lahat ang pagluha nila lalo na’t ang ilan sa mga kasong ipinaglalaban nila ay ‘tagilid’ o hindi mapagtuunan ng pansin (I feel all of their cries especially those whose cases are lopsided or not given attention),” he said.

At the same time, Remulla said he assured the parents and the public that the government continuously exerts efforts to stop the CPP-NPA from recruiting.

“Patuloy tayong makikipag-ugnayan sa ‘Hands off our Children’ para mailigtas ang ating mga anak at mag-aaral na nililinlang ng rebeldeng NPA (We will continue to reach out to ‘Hands off our Children’ organization to save our children and students against the deceptions of the NPA rebels),” he said.