Leni Robredo

Robredo on blast killing Absalon cousins: ‘Land mines are murder’

Mara Cepeda
Robredo on blast killing Absalon cousins: ‘Land mines are murder’

CONDEMNATION. In this file photo, Vice President Leni Robredo faces the public on February 16, 2021.

Jay Ganzon/OVP

'No goal or ideology can justify the use of such devices,' says Vice President Leni Robredo, referring to the land mine that killed the cousins

Vice President Leni Robredo denounced the Masbate City explosion that killed cousins Kieth and Nolven Absalon, saying no goal or ideology can justify the use of a murder weapon like land mines. 

Robredo condemned the blast on Wednesday, June 9, a day after the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed unit New People’s Army took “full responsibility” for the death of the Absalon cousins. 

“Hindi ito pakikibaka; labas ito sa usapin ng paghahangad nating matigil ang hidwaan (This is not part of the struggle; this is outside the issue of our hope to end the conflict). Land mines are murder. We condemn this incident without qualification,” said the Vice President.

Kieth was a promising football star from the Far Eastern University, while Nolven was a union leader who chaired the board of directors of the Masbate Electric Cooperative Employees Union. 

They were riding their bikes along Purok 4, Barangay Anas in Masbate City when an improvised explosive device detonated on Sunday, June 6, killing them instantly. 

Robredo said there is a reason why the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banned the use of anti-personnel land mines.

“Bawal ito sa ilalim ng Ottawa Treaty dahil walang lugar sa sibilisadong lipunan ang sandatang hindi namimili ng papaslangin. Hindi ito makatao. No goal or ideology can justify the use of such devices,” said the Vice President.

(This is prohibited under the Ottawa Treaty because there is no place in a civilized society for weapons that do not choose whom to kill. This is inhumane. No goal or ideology can justify the use of such devices.)

She then extended her condolences to the relatives left behind by the Absalon cousins, hoping those responsible for their deaths would be held accountable. 

The CPP said an investigation is underway to look into the “errors and weakness that led to the tragedy.” – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.