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IBP condemns ‘inhumane’ use of land mines, seeks justice for Absalons’ deaths


MANILA — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines condemned the use of land mines, as it sought justice for the deaths of youth footballer Kieth Absalon and union leader Nolven Absalon over the weekend.

"Because of its persistent, indiscriminate and inhumane nature, the use, manufacture, and sale of anti-personnel land mines is banned by the 1997 Ottawa Treaty (Mine Ban Convention) of which the Republic of the Philippines is a signatory together with a vast majority of civilized nations," IBP national president Domingo Egon Cayosa said in a statement.

"Various United Nations General Assembly resolutions reflect a clear and convincing global consensus against the use of anti-personnel land mines."

Cayosa also demanded full accountability for the cousins' deaths.

"We strongly condemn the use of anti-personnel land mines, seek justice for the innocent victims, and demand full accountability and punishment for those who callously deployed the land mines," he said.

"No goal or ideology can justify a blatant disregard of the laws and conscience of humanity. Even in the extreme conditions of war, the principles of decency and humanity must be honored."

Cayosa also urged the public to work together to ensure the banishment of landmines in the Philippines.

"Let us be firm and united in banishing anti-personnel land mines from the Philippines and in the world. Let us work together to uphold our laws and the principles of humanity to achieve genuine and lasting peace in our beloved country," he said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army, on Tuesday took "full responsibility" for the blast in Masbate City last Sunday that killed 21-year-old Kieth and Nolven, 40, a father of 4.

Kieth Absalon is a former UAAP juniors Most Valuable Player.

A copy of his death certificate that ABS-CBN News obtained showed the immediate cause of death as hemorrhagic shock due to "gunshot wounds & blast injuries." A source close to the family earlier said the same injuries were found on Kieth's cousin.

The military urged the Communist Party of the Philippines to give up at least two of its leaders and fighters who were involved in the blast.

Troops are hunting down the suspects, and has killed 3 alleged rebels in a gunfight and confiscated at least 12 rifles following the incident, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said.

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