Bayan Muna urges Joint Monitoring Committee to probe FEU football player’s death in Masbate
MANILA, Philippines — The Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC), a body assigned to look into rights abuses of both government forces and communist rebels, should investigate the death of Far Eastern University football player Kieth Absalon in Masbate, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said in a statement issued on Monday.
“We extend our condolences to the Absalon family, and we join the demand for justice and an independent investigation on the incident that took the lives of their family members,” Gaite added.
The 21-year-old football player and his cousin, 40-year-old Nolven were killed when an improvised explosive device went off as they were cycling on Sunday morning in Barangay Anas in Masbate City.
Nolven’s 16-year-old son, Chrisbin Daniel, who was with them, was injured in the explosion.
Gaite said the JMC should conduct the probe for possible violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The Philippine National Police (PNP) blames the explosion on communist rebel group New People’s Army.
Masbate police officers said they seized several IEDs and bomb components after a 10-minute firefight with alleged NPA rebels.
Earlier, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said that he had directed the Masbate police to coordinate with the military units in the area to launch a manhunt for the perpetrators.
The Commission on Human Rights condemned the incident and called on the NPA to observe standards set by the International Humanitarian Law. It will also be doing its own probe.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which oversees the NPA, also said it would conduct its investigation to determine whether rebels were really to blame for the incident.
According to CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena, the CPP would indemnify the victims if it would turn out that NPA rebels were responsible for their deaths.
However, Gaite believes that the best way to get to the bottom of the incident is to tap the JMC.
“If revolutionary forces are indeed behind the deployment of the alleged IED, then bringing a case before the JMC would be the best way to make them accountable,” Gaite explained.
“Both government and rebel forces are bound by this agreement on human rights and this mechanism under CARHRIHL is designed exactly to address such incidents,” he added.
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