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A chance for the red-tagged

By Charlie V. Manalo / Manila Standard

"Where is the rhyme and reason in all this?"

All along, I was made to believe that the underground Left, particularly the New People’s Army, adheres to the Geneva Convention with regard to their furtherance for their “just and humane war.” Or as what they claim in their propaganda.

But I was wrong. Yesterday, a promising football player, along with his cousin, was killed by a landmine purportedly planted by the NPA in their hometown in Masbate.

According to reports, Kieth Absalon, a 21-year-old football player of the Far Eastern University, and his cousin, Nolven Absalon, were killed while biking in Barangay Anas in Masbate, after a landmine detonated along their route.

Nolven’s son, 16-year-old Chrisbin Daniel was also wounded in the blast.

So, what just and humane war are the Left talking about? Ever since, they have professed to be strictly abiding by the Rules of War as adopted in the Geneva Convention which seeks to protect those who are not part, and even those who are no longer taking part in hostilities. Also, among the annexes in the Geneva Convention is the Protocol II of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons which bans the use of landmines.

But by planting those landmines in Masbate, two civilians were killed and another one was injured.

Now, where are the red-tagged organizations who are quick to condemn the military every time someone from their ranks are killed, maimed, arrested or hauled to court?

While General Antonio Parlade and other military officers are asking these groups to condemn underground Left organizations to distinguish themselves from those who are advocating armed struggle which they have adamantly refused to do, all I’m requesting them is to denounce this dastardly act. After all, the victims are legitimate civilians, unlike some suspected members of the underground organizations who could easily claim to be civilians whenever they are killed, maimed, arrested or hauled to court as these people don’t carry identification cards identifying them to be members of such organizations, nor do they don uniforms. In fact, the underground Left maintain no roster so as to check if they are really civilians or armed combatants.

But I doubt they will even raise an eyebrow over this incident. History dictates they always turn a blind eye on atrocities committed by the underground organizations.

In April last year, at the height of the pandemic, two soldiers were killed when a group of NPA attacked an aid distribution center in Eastern Samar, seizing the relief goods intended for the province's residents.

Last November, a group of NPA members tried to hijack relief goods intended for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses in Quezon. Fortunately, the Army was able to foil the attack.

Of course, these red-tagged groups and individuals could claim the NPA attacked and killed military personnel. But hey! These military personnel were guarding relief goods intended for the civilians. And stealing those goods intended for these people is tantamount to also killing them, right?

Now, a chance presents itself for these red-tagged groups to redeem themselves. No military is involved. There was no encounter or anything of that sort for any blame to be put on. It simply is an act of the NPA in violation of the Geneva Convention. And all they have to do is to denounce the act.

But as I’ve said earlier, I doubt they will do that. In fact, some publications are even trying to divert attention for that cowardly NPA act and pass Absalon’s death as if he died from natural causes, as their headlines read: “Footballer dead at 21.” Absolutely ridiculous.

I just couldn’t see the rhyme nor the reason. And they might as well pass on that chance again. As if Absalon’s death means nothing.


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