MASBATE CITY – The Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have linked up to conduct a massive manhunt for the suspected killers of a university football player and his cousin last week.
Far Eastern University varsity player Kieth Absalon and Nolven Absalon were reportedly killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) allegedly planted by communist New People’s Army guerillas along the highway in Barangay Anas.
PNP chief Guillermo Eleazar said he has also tasked investigators to look into reports aired by bystanders that the victims were allegedly executed by the NPA because apart from the multiple shrapnel wounds they sustained, Kieth was found with a bullet wound to the head while Nolven had two bullet wounds in the back.
The victims were biking with their relatives in the vicinity when the homemade landmine was detonated. Wounded was Nolben’s 16-year old son Chrisbin.
Masbate police chief Lt. Col. Steve dela Rosa said the Absalons were probably killed by the rebels after they were mistaken for government soldiers, but this is a bit far-fetched as they weren’t wearing military uniforms.
Keith was named MVP of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) in 2016. He was a member of the Philippines’ Under-19 team to the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Championships in Indonesia.
In a belated report, the leadership of the CPP-NPA rebels owned up to the murders of Keith and Nolven Absalon saying this was a huge “mistake.”
“We ask for the forgiveness from the family and the public,” a statement said.
But the families of the deceased rejected the public apology, saying it was not enough, even as they pressed the government for justice for their loved ones.
They also said they are also not willing to accept any money being offered by the CPP-NPA to atone for the deaths of the Absalons.