MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon (PIA)—The remains of New People’s Army (NPA) top leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos and his medic were cremated after both tested positive for COVID-19, the Philippine Army said Wednesday, November 3.
Major General Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID), said the cadavers of Madlos and his aide, Eighfel Dela Peña, were turned over to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the local government unit of Impasugong town in Bukidnon province on All Souls’ Day for legal disposal in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.
He disclosed that Madlos and Dela Peña died in the battlefield due to multiple gunshot wounds after an early dawn firefight with the military that lasted for some 30 minutes on October 30.
As a protocol, the Inter-agency Task Force on the Management of Infectious Diseases requires post-mortem specimen extractions before retrieving bodies of the rebels.
Brawner said Madlos and Dela Peña’s remains were cremated on November 2, based on the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) results released by the Philippine Red Cross that showed both rebels positive of coronavirus.
“Madlos was a high-ranking commander of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army not only in Mindanao but throughout the country. He is the spokesperson of the National Operations Command and member of the terrorists’ Executive Committee-Political Bureau known to them as Execom-Politburo. He had standing criminal charges for murder, multiple murders with double frustrated murder, robbery with double homicide, and damage to properties,” Brawner said.
As to the CPP-NPA claims that Madlos and his aide were killed unarmed, the 4ID commander said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines are committed to respect human rights as it adheres to the International Humanitarian Law.
Brawner, meanwhile, extended his sincerest condolences to the families of Madlos and Dela Pena as he emphasized that the armed encounter that tragically ended the terrorists’ lives is unfortunate but binding in the Army’s mandate to serve and protect the people, particularly in responding to civilians’ appeal for help on the presence of armed groups in their communities.
“It is in our sincerest desire that the remains will be laid to rest and the families can mourn the passing of their loved ones. After all, even as enemies of the state, they are Filipinos and deserve to have decent burials. On the other hand, I urge the remaining CTG [communist-terrorist group] members to finally realize the futility of their armed struggle and put down their arms. In the meantime, we will further intensify and relentlessly implement our focused military operations to go after the remnants of the group of Ka Oris,” Brawner added. (DPAO, 4ID PA/PIA-10/Bukidnon)