By Ado Paglinawan
Kieth Absalon dreamt of becoming a professional soccer player and represent the Philippines as a member of the Azkals. But the country lost one of its brightest football prospects when the Far Eastern University’s star met his gruesome and untimely end last June 6, 2021.
The senseless murder of Absalon is just another page in the gruesome and bloody legacy of the 52-year-old rebellion of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the National Democratic Front and its armed component the New Peoples’ Army.
Absalon, together with his cousin Nolven Absalon and his son Chrisbin Daniel were leisurely biking at Barangay Anas on their way to Batangay Titong, Masbate City, when communist terrorists blasted an improvised explosive device along the roadside.
Kieth, 21 and Nolven, 40 died, while Chrisbin Daniel, 16 sustained injuries after being hit by a shrapnel and was brought to the Masbate Provincial Hospital for treatment.
The young athlete who has been playing since Grade 6 for the FEU, said he dreamed of turning pro and eventually becoming a member of the Philippine Azkals. After capturing multiple UAAP juniors championships with Far Eastern University (FEU) he was named Most Valuable Player of the junior division in Season 78.
Absalon was part of the Philippine 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 overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are all still very much in shock,” FEU football program head Vince Santos said. “Kieth wasn’t just a player to us. He’s family.”
“It is heartbreaking to see a promising player’s future in Kieth Absalon be cut short due to a painful incident,” said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta, Jr. “We pray for the eternal repose his soul.”
Social media was up in arms condemning this senseless killing.
My Facebook friend Ilda Ignacio mourns the untimely death of Keith Absalon, “The communists deprived the country of a talented young man who was full of life and was just doing what he loved when they killed Keith in cold blood. They even defend their callousness by saying it is justified because they are “defending” the masses. Keith was part of the masses! They are not for the people.
Malaya Football Club, a non-profit organization that helps aspiring football players, tweeted: “Our hearts are broken as we bid farewell to another of our own. A born leader, follower of the highest order, a kind, gentle, and respectful soul. Thank you for everything, #KiethAbsalon, rest easy in that big football pitch in the sky.”
“Our hearts are broken as we bid farewell to a brilliant player of #MalayaFC and FEU men’s football team. A born leader, follower of the highest order, a kind, gentle, and respectful soul. Thank you for everything, #KiethAbsalon. Rest easy in that big football pitch in the sky.”
Meanwhile updates emanating from Camp Elias Angeles in Pili, Camarines Sur, headquarters of the Joint Task Force Bicolandia headed by Major General Henry Robinson indicated that combined elements of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police immediately enforced hot pursuit operations following a roadside explosion in Barangay Anas, Masbate City that took Absalon’s life.
In the ensuing clash with the fleeing communist NPA terrorists (CNTs) in Barangay Mapiña, another two IEDs were detonated, while a third one was seized unexploded from the encounter site.
Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade did not minch words calling the communist terrorists a bunch of cowards who do not want to face their armed counterparts, but pry on innocent civilians.
Almase explained, “Local government officials and citizens at-large are now put on notice that the CPP-NPA-NDF is now out to intimidate the populace, attempting to win back the influence they once enjoyed and regain the support they get from the masses before the Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia and Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (RTF-ELCAC) sustained and successful campaigns in the region.”
Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) said that government troops will continue scouring the area to prevent the communist terrorist groups from terrorizing other communities.
The dastardly killing did not escape the attention of PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar, ordered a manhunt against suspected New People’s Army rebels responsible for the explosion that killed Absalon.
“Again, lives were lost because of the hostile acts of this communist terrorist group. Iyong isa sa mga inosenteng sibilyan na naging biktima ng pagsabog, si Keith Absalon, malayo pa sana ang mararating kung hindi dahil sa mga teroristang NPA,” Eleazar said.
Authorities are accusing the New People’s Army (NPA) of planting the improvised explosive device that went off while Absalon, 21—who played for the Malaya Football Club and the Far Eastern University football team—and his relatives were cycling in the area.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also launched its own investigation into the landmine blast in Masbate City
The CHR said it “strongly condemns” the use of anti-personnel landmine, adding it violates the International Humanitarian Law (IHL).
“Not only do they cause exceptionally severe injuries, suffering, and death, anti-personnel landmines also fail to distinguish between civilians and combatants, such as what happened in this case,” the CHR said in a statement.
“We stress that even non-State actors, such as the NPA, are bound to respect IHL, alongside the government,” it added.
With its back to the wall, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NPA’s political wing issued a public statement “We extend deepest sympathies to the Absalon family for the deaths yesterday of cousins Keith and Nolven in an explosion in Masbate City. We are awaiting the results of the investigation into the incident being conducted by the NPA command in the area,” said CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena in a tweet.
This position by the CPP indicates that their ranks are now ragtag army with nobody in control.
Frankly, I do not expect an admission of guilt but fueled propaganda from Jose Maria Sison, from his comfort zones in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Sison has time immemorial been feeding his own people as scapegoats to the lions. He has no scruples sacrificing men and women supporting his ideology to ruin, destruction or hostility, for his own benefit and survival.
He provides “no exit” for people he works with and is willing to send them to the wolves if it meant increasing his stock even a bit.
This senseless killing, nay gruesome murder, of National Athlete Kieth Absalon seals the destiny of death and extinction for all those who follow Sison be they among his desperate combatants, stinking underground supporters or his burned “legal” fronts.
His boots on the ground, fewer by days as they become, must now realize that the only way out is to raise both arms in surrender, and in acceptance of their fate to still live, enter the Balik-Loob Program, so that they can still taste amnesty and be guided by 27 government agencies to have a new beginning with their families under peace and development.
There is no gentle future for the coming generations, no justice, no life in the criminal mind of this fading old man, because as senility takes the better of him, he will never admit failure. That means only death and destruction to everyone who still professes his lost cause.
Kieth Absalon’s fans are asking, “Paano na ‘yung mga dreams ni Keith?” the football club lamented.
(What now happens to Kieth’s dreams?)
An entire country empathizes with his death, asking “Paano na ang kinabukasan ng ating salinlahi kung hindi natin lilipulin ang komunistang teroristang CPP-NPA-NDF?”
(What awaits our future generations, if we cannot annihilate these communist terrorists?)
Absalon’s mother, appeals for justice, “Tulungan nyo po ako, Mr. President!”
(Mr. President, help!)