The Akbayan Party-list on Friday welcomed the Makabayan bloc’s denunciation of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) murder of football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven in Masbate, but it also demanded its rival national democratic party’s condemnation of all the Maoist group’s crimes.
Akbayan, a democratic socialist party that lost a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2019 elections, charged the Makabayan lawmakers of having a “selective condemnation” of the NPA abuses.
It said the incumbent progressive lawmakers, said to be supportive of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), could not condemn and praise the NPA at the same time.
“While the Makabayan bloc’s condemnation of the NPA’s killing of civilians in Masbate is a welcome respite to its long silence at the armed group’s violence and impunity, it should denounce all the atrocities and abuses the NPA has committed against the public, including its extortion activities, recruitment of child soldiers, and the assassinations and threats of violence against progressive leaders and organizations,” Akbayan Spokesperson Dr. RJ Naguit said.
“The Makabayan bloc cannot condemn a single act of violence because of strong public backlash, and ignore the rest of the NPA’s crimes because they don’t land on today’s front page. Selective condemnation is permission,” Naguit said.
Naguit said the NPA, the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed group that has been waging a “protracted war” against the government since 1969, is also guilty of “impunity”.
Akbayan also asserted that the Makabayan bloc should equally denounce the 2005 hitlist issued by the CPP-NPA against progressive leaders whom it branded as “class enemies”.
Included in the hitlist were former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson and current Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales, and several other Left leaders.
Former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, meanwhile, called on the NPA to surrender its members who planted prohibited explosives that killed the Far Eastern University footballer Kieth and his cousin Nolven. Also injured in the attack was Nolven’s son.
For the Davao del Norte congressman, a “mere apology” is “unacceptable” and that members of the rebel group behind the killing should be prosecuted.
“The problem of insurgency has once again resulted in the deaths of civilians and a promising Filipino football player who could have brought more honor to our country,” Alvarez said.
“Justice must be meted out and it is only by allowing the perpetrators to face the courts that would permit the family and the whole nation to begin the grieving process. Until then, the NPA should be considered as protector of criminals,” he added.
Police Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar also branded the NPA as terrorists “pretending remorse over the death of the Absalons”.
“They (NPA rebels) have never been sincere,” Eleazar said.
In another development, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines issued a statement condemning the NPA’s use of a land mine that killed the Absalons.
“No goal or ideology can justify a blatant disregard of the laws and conscience of humanity,” IBP President Domingo Cayosa said, adding that the use of land mines “highlights the inhumanity of this internationally outlawed device”.