By Antonio Parlade Jr.
It has been more than month days since the fatal murder of Kieth and Nolven Absalon in Masbate City. The more I dig deeper into the circumstances of that incident, the more I come to understand the brutality of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and how they have been lying in order to support their propaganda.
The CPP-NPA admitted to the atrocity and apologized to the family, saying that the killing of Kieth was a case of mistaken identity.
But since I promised the Absalon family that we will relentlessly pursue this case, I did my own personal investigations into the matter.
The shocking eyewitness accounts I gathered directly from the sources and witnesses was that Kieth and Nolven were not innocent victims.
In fact, two NPA spotters in a motorcycle overtook the pack of mountain bikers and stopped in front of the bikers’ lead pack and pointed at Kieth and Nolven identifying them as the targets.
Shortly after, the two in motorcycles sped off and as the bikers continued with their activity. That was when the NPA terrorists hiding in the bushes started to shoot them with assault rifles and exploded the improvised explosive devices, or anti-personnel mines.
Nolven and Kieth fell off their bicycles but were not fatally injured.
Nolven told his son to seek cover at a nearby hill. The NPA terrorists continued sniping Daniel to stop him. Fortunately, he was quick enough to run to safety despite sustaining several gunshot injuries.
Meanwhile, the NPA approached the fallen duo.
The rest of the bikers managed to conceal themselves behind the bushes but were in clear view of what followed shortly.
Kieth and Nolven raised their arms begging the NPA to spare their lives, with their faces and identities clearly visible to the attackers. But the assassins followed through with close shots to the head and body.
The NPA did not spare their lives. They clearly knew that their targets were two civilian non-combatants. What happened to the Absalons was gruesome murder.
I would learn later that Keith Absalon served as the poster boy of the community for the local government unit engaging the youth in sports that busied them away from drugs and being recruited by the communist terrorists.
The motive was pure and simple. They targeted Keith to terrorize people into submission. In the vernacular, they “sampled” him to sow fear among the people.
Do you think the NPA is incapable of doing this to civilians? Hardly not.
They have been doing this to intimidate our indigenous peoples to yield to their authority. They have been ambushing civilians, including those in ambulances, if only to terrorize our citizens and remind them they are still a force to reckon with.
As recent as January 19, 2021, also in Masbate they kidnapped local officials in broad daylight and killed them later because the officials were tagged as counter-revolutionaries.
The book of Robert Francis “Bobby” Garcia – To Suffer Thy Comrades, How the Revolution Decimated Its Own – provides some answers to the violence that the CPP-NPA-NDF has been so accustomed to doing.
In one of its chapters, “Challenged to Kill,” a certain Janis narrated how she as a member of the Task Force Missing Link would take part in the torture and killing of their comrades in order to save the movement.
Adamant at first, but later she would grow callous and participate not only in the interrogation of suspected DPAs but also in the killing of hundreds of her fellow comrades.
Bobby Garcia retold some Cecil and Ka Mario’s detailed revelations on how they went through the “split,” where the “legs were spread wider and wider apart till you admit to practically every sin you can think of.”
They also exposed the so-called NPA “flag ceremony” where the suspects were raised instead of a flag.
If that does not speak a lot about the violent nature of the CPP-NPA.
What the CPP-NPA has been doing for the past few months is exactly what resulted in their decimation in the 1990s. The Rano massacre in Digos, as well as the many killings they have committed even against peaceful and innocent civilians, alienated more people which almost caused the party’s collapse in 1992.
The killing of Kieth Absalon and Nolven highlights their capacity to kill civilians, deliberately, and then lie about it.
Rather than create fear among Masbateños, Bicolanos and the Filipino nation as a whole, the Absalon murders have totally backfired. Because of the incident, more people are coming out now to express their sentiments in getting rid of these CPP-NPA terrorists and whistleblowing on their lairs and encampments.
Many netizens are now directly mouthing a handful of invectives against these CPP monsters, including their supporters in Congress and the Senate. They have become unabashedly unafraid, displaying their faces and identities, which is in sharp contrast to the “omerta”, acquiescence or even discreet cooperation of the past.
They now acknowledge that what the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) has been doing to expose these fake nationalists is the correct approach. Though it has come too late in the 52 years of propaganda game, it is finally here and that is what is more important.
The long absence of a government narrative has shaped our mindset to believe that this insurgency will stay with us forever. In fact, many have treated this issue with apathy, believing that the presence of the NPA has become a common phenomenon, and that the CPP is legal and therefore, not a concern.
This is so because of the way the media and the propaganda machinery of the CPP have shaped our mindset for the longest time, until the current dispensation created the NTF-Elcac and put a deadline to end this armed group.
As I attended a recent military command conference and listened to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ accomplishments for the second quarter of the year, I can confirm that the deadline set by President Duterte has finally become both doable and achievable.
In the past, the communist terrorists have programmed unaffected civilians to think that this insurgency has become part of our way of life. Their propaganda has insidiously positioned in our minds that they cannot be defeated.
Evolutionary psychologists have put forward that people have difficulty with standard probabilistic reasoning. the statement, “Our brains are made for fitness not for truth” by the scientific intellectual Steven Pinker summarizes this theory. They have somewhat agreed that our brains are not made for understanding things but think that they are not biased, or only biased because we do not use them in a real habitat.
Further, they agree that brainwork depends on how the subject is presented and the frame offered.
As also referenced in his book, Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb states that we cannot make a decision without emotion, and emotions are there to prevent us from temporizing.
This is so true if after Kieth and Nolven’s assassination, we still feel unaffected with this culture of violence, then something has grown abnormal and inhumane in us to numb our souls.
We probably need more landmines to blow up in our faces for us to wake up and get angry – more “lubricants of reason” for us to finally say strongly: enough is enough.
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