Military claims Mindanao rebel leader Jorge Madlos is dead

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 October) – The military on Saturday claimed that Mindanao rebel leader Jorge Madlos aka “Ka Oris” is dead, allegedly killed in an encounter in Bukidnon.

No  photograph of the body or of the encounter site has been released to the media by the military which is calling for  a press conference in Cagayan de Oro on Sunday.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Demcoratic Front (NDF) have yet to issue a statement on the military report.

(UPDATE as of 10 a.m., 31 October 2021: In a notice e-mailed to the media at 9:56 a.m. on Sunday, Marco Valbuena, Chief Information Officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines said they are “still verifying reports concerning the death of Ka Oris as declared by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”  He said a statement “will be issued later today.”)

This is not the first time the military reported the 72-year old Madlos,  who had been suffering from a debilitating illness since 1987, died in an encounter.

Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon. Map courtesy of Google Maps

In a press release issued on Saturday, the 4th Infantry Division’s Public Affairs Office under Maj. Francisco Garello said Madlos was killed along with a member of the New People’s Army in an encounter in the “mountainous area” of Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.

It said the 403rd Infantry Brigade launched a joint and combined combat operations at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday in response to information provided by the community about the presence of communist rebels in their area followed by air strikes at daytime and that shortly before noon, the final assault was done.

“After 30 minutes of firefight, assaulting troops scoured and cleared the area and discovered two abandoned cadavers, captured one M14 Rifle, one KG9 Rifle and recovered ammunitions of different caliber, other war materiel and assorted personal belongings,” it said.

It also said 4th ID chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner had confirmed that one of the two rebels killed was Madlos whom the 4th ID’s Public Affairs Office  described as “Commander and spokesperson of the National Operations Command (NOC) of the New People’s Army nationwide; Member, Central Committee – EXECOM/Politburo;   Spokesperson of the National Democratic Front – Mindanao, and the husband of Myrna Sularte alias Maria Malaya, the Secretary of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC).” The other victim was identified as Eighfel Dela Pena alias Pika/Maui, Comms Staff and Medical Staff of the NOC.

The press release was accompanied by two file photos of Madlos, apparently taken during the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines.  (MindaNews)