CHR to NPA: ‘Surrender perpetrators of Masbate blast to face justice in court’
By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki / Manila Bulletin
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has asked the New People’s Army (NPA) not only to assume “full accountability” but also to surrender the perpetrators of the Masbate landmine blast that claimed the lives of two innocent individuals “to face justice within the court system.”
Keith Absalon, 21, a football varsity player from the Far Eastern University (FEU) and his cousin, Nolven Absalon, 40 lost their lives because of the blast last June 6. Nolven’s son, 16 years old, also sustained injuries because of the explosion.
Last June 8, the NPA expressed “deep remorse” over the “errors in the military action mounted by an NPA unit in Barangay Anas.” It also took “full responsibility” for the deaths of the Absalons.
“If the NPA is serious and sincere about taking accountability for the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed civilians in Masbate — beyond owning responsibility, offering indemnity, and promising an investigation — they should identify all those responsible and surrender them to the lawful authorities to face justice within the court system,” the CHR said in a statement.
“They should likewise be held accountable for all other crimes they have perpetrated in violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws since they began pursuing this armed conflict,” it added.
The CHR urged all concerned agencies to work together to ensure that there will be accountability from perpetrators and justice will be given to the victims and their families.
At the same time, it said that concrete steps must be taken to stop further hostilities and to reduce violence.