"This is just unthinkable."
The recent ambush-killing of a college football star and his biking companion dramatizes yet again how innocent civilians get caught in the bloody war between the communist rebels and the military.
This tragedy comes at a time when health authorities warned of an increase in COVID-19 cases in more areas outside Metro Manila, including localities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) has claimed responsibility and apologized for the deaths of Far Eastern University (FEU) football player Keith Absalon, 21, and his cousin Nolven Absalon in an NPA landmine explosion Masbate City last Sunday.
Nolven, 40, was an active labor union leader at the local electric cooperative.
The NPA unit involved in the cold-blooded murders admittedly mistook the victims for policemen who frequently patrolled the area on bicycles.
Reports of late have it that the Absalons’ group of seven bikers were shot at close range several times, ensuring they killed the two after an improvised explosive device (EID) went off.
Human rights advocates, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and even militant lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan bloc condemned the NPA attack on Absalons’ group, particularly the use of IED.
Immediately following the rebels’ admission, the government demanded that the CPP-NPA leadership “surrender” the perpetrators of what is clearly a war crime.
But how could expect the CPP/NPA to surrender their comrades to the authorities of the government they seek to overthrow?
They maintain that they have their own criminal justice system to penalize violations and abuses by their ragtag NPA guerrillas.
Besides, the CPP-NPA leaders will not accept and acknowledge their designation as international “terrorist” organizations under the National Democratic Front (NDF).
In formally declaring the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” groups, President Duterte ruled out any more chances of honest-to-goodness peace talks with the pretentious communists headed by his old acquaintance, self-exiled Jose Maria Sison.
We just cannot trust them. Ever.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Guillermo L. Eleazar said there have been a number of similar atrocities where the NPA, the CPP’s military arm, preyed on innocent civilians including women and children.
Unfortunately, such treacherous attacks were unreported by the news media because the victims were not as prominent as Absalon.
Gen. Eleazar ordered a heightened alert and intensified intelligence operations in support of the Armed Forces drive against the remaining NPA “stragglers” in the Masbate areas.
I share the sentiment of the Anti-Crime and Terrorist through Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) Partylist in strongly deploring the senseless attacks on unarmed non-combatant civilians, especially during the Covid pandemic crisis.
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap scored the “desperate tactics of the moribund NPA, a pseudo revolutionary group who no longer enjoy any popular support.”
I agree it is simply unthinkable why the CPP-NPA continues to mount ambuscades on military, police and civilian targets in the midst of our struggle against the worsening COVID-19 crisis, widespread hunger, and poverty.
Such senseless violence!