P5.6-M bounty stuns communist leader

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 18 August) – Jorge Madlos, National Democratic Front-Mindanao spokesperson, was shocked with the P5.6 million bounty for his capture, saying he thought it was just P1 million.

In a phone interview Friday night, Madlos, alias Ka Oris, also decried the arrest warrant issued against his son Vincent Isagani, whom the police included in the cases against the rebel leader involving the attack on a mining company in Claver, Surigao del Norte last year.

He asked President Benigno Aquino III to work out the suspension of the arrest warrant against his son.

Jorge Madlos, aka Ka Oris, inside his guerrilla base somewhere in Northern Mindanao. Photo taken on July 23, 2012. Mindanews File Photo by Keith Bacongco“All along, I thought the bounty was only P1 million because that’s what we learned from the posters in [transport] terminals,” Madlos said.

Aquino earlier issued an order increasing the reward money for those who can provide information leading to the arrest of high-profile fugitives in the country, including retired Gen. Jovito Palparan.

“The President also reminds the public of the existing reward of 5.6 million pesos each for information leading to the apprehension of CPP-NPA leaders Benito Tiamzon and Jorge Madlos, both of whom also have outstanding warrants of arrest,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a statement.

Madlos decried the bounty, saying it is part of the “continuing political persecution of revolutionaries,” as it treats them like “common criminals like Palparan,” a retired general.

Palparan, whom activists call as “The Butcher,” is facing charges of kidnapping for the disappearance of students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006.

“Despite the Aquino government’s bold talk of all-out peace, it is quite ironic that its policy on the peace process seethes with political persecution by highlighting the P5.6 million reward money for the eventual capture of known revolutionary personalities such as Tiamzon, myself, and others in the so-called bounty list,” Madlos said in a separate statement emailed to journalists.

The reward, he added, is a “malicious declaration that is designed to once and for all scuttle the peace talks, and focus instead on bribing the people through the military reward system.”

The rebel spokesperson also admitted this recent persecution has affected him not just as a revolutionary but also as a son and a father.

Madlos bared that his mother, Dorothea Ravelo-Madlos passed away at the age of 98 on August 16 in Surigao City due to liver cancer. The 74-year old rebel leader last saw her mother in 1992.

“In my absence, I am counting on my only son, Vincent Isagani, to represent me in expressing my love as a son in her last rites,” he said, noting the “false” charges against his son hindered such a moment.

“With my son’s right denied and his liberty in peril, my very last chance to join my family in paying our last respects to my beloved mother was completely deprived,” Madlos pointed out.

He added that his son, who used to work as a call center agent in Cebu City, was never involved in any activist movement during his college days.

Madlos said his son has already gone into hiding upon his advice five days ago.

Vincent Isagani is among the 136 persons charged with robbery and arson following the NPA attack on Platinum Group Metal Corp. in Claver town last year.

Police Supt. Martin Gamba, police spokesperson in the Caraga region, confirmed to Mindanews that there were charges filed against the Madloses but he could not confirm yet if the warrant of arrest is already out.

This form of persecution, the rebel spokesperson said, has hit him for the second time now.

In 1984, government forces allegedly abducted his daughter Malaya, who was then three years old, supposedly to pressure him to surrender, Madlos recalled.

Malaya now works as a nurse in the US.

“They have totally failed to break me and my commitment to the revolution then, and so the state is desperately attempting to neutralize me once more by placing a bounty on my head, calling me a “fugitive,” and, attempting to hurt my loved ones again,” Madlos added in the statement.

He suggested that the reward money should be used instead to help the thousands displaced by recent typhoons that hit Luzon and the Visayas.

“I would like to personally appeal to Noynoy Aquino, himself being a victim once of political persecution during the Marcos dictatorship, to lift all false charges leveled against my son, Vincent Isagani R. Madlos, and to allow him freely and safely to be present, as my representative, at the wake and attend the burial of my mother,” Madlos said in the statement.

The interment is set on August 25.

“It may be recalled that in 1990 while I was still incarcerated in Camp Crame, your late mother Cory allowed me, for humanitarian reasons, to attend the burial of my father, Andres M. Madlos, Sr, in Surigao City. I believe that with all the powers at your disposal, you can reasonably act on this personal appeal, especially because my son is innocent,” he added. (Keith Bacongco with a report from Erwin Mascariñas/MindaNews)