CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City—The leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) must be held liable in the landmine detonation on June 6 that killed Kieth and Nolven Absalon and maimed Daniel Absalon.

This is according to Major General Edgardo De Leon, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, who cited the International Humanitarian Law’s principle of the “Responsibility of the Superiors.”

“Under IHL, the superiors, not only the direct perpetrator, are also responsible and liable (in the committed violation),” said MGen De Leon in an interview about the continued use of banned anti-personnel mines.

He also pointed to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and IHL that was signed by former House Speaker Jose De Venecia on the side of the government and by Jose Maria Sison, Luis Jalandoni, Fidel Agcaoili, and Coni Ledesma on the side of the NDFP.

"That document enumerated the leaders who should be brought to the courts of justice," MGen De Leon said.

“We have read the statement of a group of lawmakers that mentions CARHRIHL. This document says in the first page, ‘The National Democratic Front of the Philippines including the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army is hereinafter referred to as the NDFP,’ this means that the CPP-NPA is under the government of NDFP,” added MGen De Leon. “They should be responsible in championing IHL. Now that their organization committed the violation, where are they now? They are in the Netherlands.”

The same principle is adopted in Republic Act 9851 or An Act Defining and penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity, Organizing Jurisdiction, Designating Special Courts and for Related Purposes.

Under Section 10 of the said law, “a superior shall be criminally responsible as a principal for such crimes committed by subordinates under his/her effective command and control, or effective authority and control as the case may be xxx”

“The country that gave these leaders asylum should know the crimes that these personalities have committed. They need to be made aware of that the people they granted asylum to are the ones driving IHL violations in our country,” MGen De Leon added.

From 2010 to 2020, the AFP recorded 141 incidents involving the CPP-NPA-NDF using, stockpiling, transporting, and producing the banned anti-personnel mines. The year 2020 recorded the most incidents, with 68.

These resulted in casualties, including five civilians that were killed and 24 others who were wounded.

“We are calling on those who have been victims of APM use and other violations of IHL to speak up and join us in protecting other civilians from the abuses and attacks of the CPP-NPA-NDF. We have IHL and RA 9851 to help us hold them accountable for their actions. It is time to act together to end their abuses,” MGen De Leon concluded.///