The New People’s Army (NPA) should name and surrender those people involved in the Masbate landmine blast that led to the death of a 21-year-old football player and his cousin, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, accepted responsibility behind the blast using the improvised explosive device (IED) that killed Far Eastern University athlete Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven on Sunday morning.

However, the CPP explained that the incident was due to “errors of an NPA unit” and also admitted that it was a violation of international law. 

“If the NPA is serious and sincere about taking accountability for the IED killing of 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.

“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 has already started its investigation on the landmine blast incident. 

Both the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have teamed up to conduct a manhunt for the suspects. 

Various politicians and groups, including the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives have condemned the CPP-NPA.  The group has been repeatedly accused by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC) as a front for the communist insurgency.  The group of progressive lawmakers repeatedly denied the NTF-ELCAC’s accusations. The anti insurgency group has failed to present any evidence to back up their claims.

Ronald Espartinez