'Absalons death united nation vs NPA'

By Catherine Valente / The Manila Times


THE death of Keith Absalon and his cousin at the hands of the New People's Army united the country in condemning the crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the communist terrorist group, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) said on Thursday.


Loraine Badoy, task force spokesman, said people from all walks of life and various groups have strongly denounced the killing of Keith and Nolven Absalon and the wounding of their relative.


"Kieth Absalon, whose senseless and brutal murder has enraged and galvanized the entire nation against the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippine-New People's Army- National Democratic Front), and its excesses so that even your traditional allies have spoken up and denounced what you protect," Badoy said in a statement addressed to members of the so-called Makabayan Bloc in Congress.


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On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte promised that justice will be served for the death of the football player and his cousin.


Keith, Nolven and a 16-year-old nephew were biking in Barangay Anas in Masbate City on Sunday morning when a landmine exploded, killing the two men and injuring the boy.


Badoy said the incident roused and enraged the people, drawing flak even from "traditional allies" of the CPP-NPA-NDF.


"From the Commission on Human Rights to Human Rights Watch to the House of Representatives and [the] Senate and to every Filipino who now stand with the NTF-Elcac on our shared ground of rage and indignation at the dimming of this bright star, Kieth Absalon, by violent extremists who didn't think it was enough to detonate an antipersonnel mine on unarmed civilians but had to shoot Keith at close range to bring home the message of terrorism that you espouse on the sacred floor of Congress," she added.


The CPP-NPA took full responsibility for the death of the Absalons.


"The entire CPP and NPA take full responsibility for the tragedy. There is no justification for the aggravation this has caused the Absalon family," Marco Valbuena, CPP information officer, said in a statement on Tuesday.


Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte vowed to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the incident.


"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)," Roque said during a virtual press briefing.


"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.


Badoy lashed out at the Makabayan bloc for threatening to block the budget of the NTF-Elcac.


She particularly hit Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas and Bayan Muna's Carlos Zarate for making such calls as "they have provided cover for terrorist fronts that enable the radicalization and recruitment of our children into violent extremism."


"Even in the murder of Kieth Absalon, they have remained relentlessly focused and totally devoid of shame in using the death of this gifted athlete to further the goals of the CPP-NPA- NDF by manipulating government to go to the table for another round of that sarcastically named 'peace talks' that are so bereft of sincerity that we might as well call it what it is: piss talks," Badoy said.


The Palace official maintained the government will not be hoodwinked again into engaging in any peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDF leadership.


"Our President has spoken. There will not now or ever be - while he sits as president - any peace talks with you liars," Badoy said.


"Genuine peace talks continue on the local level so that over 14,000 have peacefully laid down their arms. The peace that has eluded our country is now at hand. No thanks to your phony piss talks and thanks to NTF-Elcac," she added.

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