MANILA— Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday told the police's regional office in Albay to "hunt down" members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) tagged in the death of the Absalon cousins in Masbate City, after one suspect was arrested this week.
In a statement, the police said the suspect arrested on Tuesday is under the custody of the Masbate Police, and allegedly an officer of the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya in the province.
Local police have also filed murder and frustrated murder complaints against 24 other individuals, "all members of the CPP and the New People's Army," it said.
“Huwag nating hayaang makalayo pa ang mga ito at tuluyang matakasan ang patung-patong na reklamo na isinampa laban sa kanila. I am directing the local police to intensify their intelligence-gathering operations to immediately locate and arrest the suspects,” the country's top cop was quoted as saying.
(We should not let them get away with this, and they should face justice for a number of complaints they are facing.)
Football player Kieth Absalon and his cousin Nolven were killed in an IED blast early June while they were biking in Masbate City.
The CPP had vowed to have an internal probe over the incident but refused to surrender their members, saying they are under their "authority."
This is the reason police are pursuing the suspects, said the PNP chief.
“Kung ayaw isuko ng CPP-NPA ang mga taong ito, tayo ang gagawa ng paraan para mabigyan ng hustisya ang kanilang mga biktima sa pamamagitan ng agresibong police operations laban sa kanila,” according to Eleazar.
(If the CPP-NPA refuses to surrender their members to government, the burden falls on us to give justice to what happened to their victims. This is through aggressive police operations against them)
Keith, 21, and his cousin, a father of 4, were laid to rest in Masbate City on June 13.
Kieth played for the Malaya Football Club and the Far Eastern University football team.
He was a standout for FEU's boys' football team, having been named Most Valuable Player of the juniors division in Season 78. He was also a part of the national team that competed in the 2018 AFF Under-19 Championship in Indonesia.
He was a starter for the FEU men's football team in Season 82 before their campaign was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Officials and rights groups condemned the CPP-NPA's use of landmines, which they say violates International Humanitarian Law.
— With a report from Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News