THE PHILIPPINE Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday asked the armed wing of the local communist movement to surrender rebels involved in the killing of a trade leader and his cousin.

The New People’s Army (NPA) should surrender its men if it is serious and sincere about taking accountability for the killing of civilians in Masbate province, commission Chairman Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon said in a Facebook post.

The Communist Party on Tuesday said it was sorry for the “unnecessary and untimely deaths,” citing errors in its unit’s action. The Maoist group said it takes full responsibility for the tragedy.

Authorities earlier said the New People’s Army had planted a bomb that went off while the victims were cycling in the area.

A police report also cited a witness who said the explosion was followed by gunshots targeting the victims. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza