MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for the Law of Armed Conflict (AFPCLOAC) has asked the Human Rights Commission (CHR) to conduct a side investigation into the Masbate incident that killed college footballer Kieth Absalon and his cousin, Nolven.
Brig. General Jose Alejandro Nacnac, director of AFPCLOAC, sent a letter of request to the president of the CHR, Jose Luis Martin Gascon, to investigate the “heinous, despicable and reprehensible” attack perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) June 6, 2021.
“As a vanguard of human rights and international humanitarian law, we call on your office to pursue justice for the Absalons and all the victims of the latest anti-personnel mine (APM) explosions and the protection of civilians from use of MPAs by the NPA and the CTGs (communist terrorist groups). We also ask for your help and support in the government’s overall effort to end the local communist armed conflict, ”the letter dated June 29 reads.
Nacnac condemned the incident, saying NPA rebels must be held accountable for indiscriminate use of PAM and attacks on innocent civilians.
“The continued use by ANPs of anti-personnel mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that kill and maim civilians and soldiers in flagrant disregard and in willful violation of international humanitarian law is worrying and must be stopped,” said Nacnac in a press release on Friday. .
Nacnac noted that “the distinction between civilians and combatants is a cardinal principle” of international humanitarian law, “intended to minimize damage to civilians by making violence a combatant’s business”.
Quoting Article 14 of Republic Law (RA) No. 9851, or the Philippine Law on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, promulgated on December 11, 2009, Nacnac said that the communist leader who orchestrated the violent attacks must also face criminal charges.
“In addition to the other grounds of criminal responsibility for the crimes defined and sanctioned by RA 9851, section 10 thereof provides that NPA leaders like Joma Sison will be criminally responsible as the principal for these crimes committed by subordinates under his effective command and control, or effective authority and control, as the case may be, due to his inability to properly exercise control over those subordinates, ”added Nacnac.
“The responsibility of the leaders of these CTGs for the damage and prejudice that their subordinates inflicted on non-combatants must not go unpunished,” he continued.
In May, the CHR pledged to investigate the 1,506 atrocities and IHL violations committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) -NPA and the National Democratic Front from 2010 to 2020.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (With reports from Priam Nepomuceno / PNA)