Kieth Absalon, a football player from Far Eastern University (FEU) who was slain in a New People’s Army (NPA) attack in Masbate on June 6, was targeted explicitly because of his popularity and active promotion of sports among the youth, which ran counter to communist terrorist groups (CTGs)’ preaching.
This was revealed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC)’s recent virtual press conference.
“Why? Because they found out that Kieth is actively promoting sports and activities for the well-being of the youth na kontra sa adbokasiya ng CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front),” Esperon said.
He said the CPP-NPA-NDF also “want to show that they are still a force to reckon with, as many of their members have continued to surrender in Masbate.”
“Parang pananakot talaga ito sa tao, at yung pananakot na iyan ay sinamahan nila ng pagpatay. Kaya targeted talaga sila. Meaning they wanted to deliver a message to intimidate the population from whom they are losing support,” added Esperon, also the NTF-ELCAC Vice Chairperson.
He expressed his sorrow at the death of the FEU football player who was named the UAAP Juniors Most Valuable Player in Season 78.
“We join the Absalons in their grief for their loss of a son and nephew in this unfortunate incident in Masbate. Nakakagulat talaga yung nangyari kina Kieth. Parang walang karason-rason at sa maling rason ay nawala isang kabataan na sana ay magbibigay ng isang magandang kinabukasan sa kanayang pamilya,” Esperon said.
He told the Absalon family, however, that the Regional Task Force (RTF) in Bicol has already filed cases in court against the CPP-NPA-NDF and its key figures for summarily executing Kieth and his cousin, Nolven, on June 6. The two were biking when suddenly they were blasted with an illegal anti-personnel mine (APM).
“At ito nga ang pinaglalaban natin at tinutulungan natin ang pamilyang Absalon. At para dito ay sinasamahan tayo ng maraming nakikiisa sa atin hindi lang dito sa NTF-ELCAC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Esperon stated that the RTF in Eastern Visayas will be filing complaints against the CTGs who killed and injured dozens of defenseless troops and militiamen in Jipapad, Eastern Samar on July 7 with another Anti-Personnel Mine (APM).
According to him, the Jipapad event merely serves to highlight the CTGs’ ongoing atrocities.
“Nakita natin kung gaano kalaupit at walang rason na violence na ginagawa ng CPP-NPA-NDF,” he said.
Esperon also acknowledged the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) decision to condemn the NPA insurgents’ violence.
“Just like us, the NTF-ELCAC, they are against violence, especially the violence carried out by an unreasonable ideology – which has gone out of control and gone out of reason for its existence. Kaya nga ang sinasabi natin ay dapat tuldukan na ito. At magsamasama tayo para sa madaling panahon ay matapos natin,” Esperon said.
The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines have all designated the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization.