The family of 21-year-old FEU football player Kieth Absalon, who, together with his cousin, died from a suspected improvised blast in Masbate City Sunday, are seeking a thorough probe as they believe the victims were also shot.
“We believe they did not die just from the landmine,” said Absalon’s sister, Nathalie, in a statement Monday.
“Based on my parents and relatives’ statements and based on the pictures, there were gunshot wounds, which is probably the main reason why they died. There are gunshot wounds in my brother’s face and head, and in my cousin’s back,” she added.
Absalon, who also played for the Malaya Football Club, and his cousin Nolven, 40, were killed as their bike hit an improvised explosive device which the police said was set up by the New People’s Army.
Nolven’s 16-year-old son survived the incident.
The Philippine National Police has vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators of the anti-personnel mine blast that killed the cousins.
“I am directing the local police to coordinate with the military and launch manhunt operations against the suspects. We will not stop until we attain justice for the innocent victims who died and were wounded in the blast,” said PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar in a statement.
The Commission on Human Rights has also entered the picture and is now investigating the twin deaths.
“CHR strongly condemns this act. The use of anti-personnel landmines is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law,” commission spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.
“Not only do they cause exceptionally severe injuries, suffering, and death, anti-personnel landmines also fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants, such as what happened in this case. We stress that even non-State actors, such as the NPA, are bound to respect IHL, alongside the government,” she added.