DAPA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 16 November) – The cremated remains of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, will be buried on Saturday, November 20 in Surigao City, after spending a few days in the place
Madlos’ cremains were brought to his hometown in General Luna, Siargao Island by his younger brother Rito on November 13, four days after he claimed his urn from Mayor Anthony Uy of Impasug-ong town where Madlos was killed in what the military claimed was an encounter on October 30 but which the NPA claimed was an ambush on October 29.
“We held two nights’ wake at the house of his foster parents in General Luna town,” Rito said, referring to the house of the late mayor Mauricio “Oris” Ravelo.
The late mayor, who was married to Madlos’ aunt, had no child so they took him in – the seventh of nine children — when he was a year old, until high school.
When Madlos joined the armed struggle, he chose his foster father’s nickname, “Oris,” as his nom de guerre.
The military identified Madlos as head of the NPA’s National Operations Command. But he was more known as the long-time spokesperson of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao.
His cremains were transferred from the wooden box which Rito fetched in Bukidnon, to a marble urn that was laid on a table at the hall on the second floor.
A huge red star on the floor, the symbol of the ideology of the fallen communist revolutionary, has been there since they were children, the 79-year old Anne Madlos-Caraballe, Madlos’ elder sister, said.
“The big star on the hall was there already during construction period,” said Caraballe.
“We used to play there when we were little and we saw that star already inscribed there on the floor,” she said.
The house is located along Rizal corner Clarin Streets, a block away from General Luna municipal hall. On the first floor of the two-story house is Lava Lounge, a laundry shop.
The wake was solemn, she said, as only relatives and a few friends who knew Jorge had come home, albeit only for two nights.
“Only relatives and some of his close childhood friends went there,” said Anne.
In Dapa town, where a wake was held on November 12 and 15, only few people came.
“We never announced to the public at that time,” Anne said.
From Bukidnon to Siargao to Surigao
Jorge’s urn was also brought on Monday afternoon to his beachfront property , where the Barrel Restobar and a resort are situated. He acquired the property from his foster parents.
Early Tuesday morning, November 16, 2021, the urn containing the cremains was ferried to Surigao City and brought to the Aldonza Funeral Homes across the Bilang Bilang Church.
“There will be a four night wake in Surigao City and he will be laid to rest on Saturday,” Rito said.
The 72-year-old, Siargao-born rebel leader was killed, according to his death certificate, on October 30, along with an aide, in what the military claimed to be a clash between rebel and government forces in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
The NDF refuted this claim, saying the ailing Ka Oris and his medical aide, identified by the military as Eighfel Dela Peña, were killed in an ambush on Friday night.
COVID and cremation
According to Ka Oris’ wife, Maria Malaya, NDF spokesperson for Northeast Mindanao, her husband and Dela Peña were on a motorcycle on their way to get medical treatment, but never reached the highway.
Madlos and De la Peña, whose dead bodies were swabbed for COVID-19 testing, tested positive, according to the results of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test at the Philippine Red Cross’s laboratory in Manila.
The local Inter-Agency Covid Task Force took over the remains of Madlos and De la Peña after the Philippine Red Cross made known its findings, and sent the bodies for cremation at the Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels in Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro.
Rito brought the cremains of his brother to Surigao City from Bukidnon. He said they passed through six checkpoints and were asked several times if they could see the remains of Madlos. “Most of them did not know that he was cremated already,” Rito said.
Madlos left behind Ka Maria Malaya, his wife; Malaya, his daughter working in the United States as a nurse and Vincent Isagani, who was a call center worker, now in hiding as he was falsely charged of being part of the simultaneous NPA raid on the mining firms in Claver town in Surigao del Sur in 2011.
Madlos’ eldest brother Vicente, an engineer, took care of his children. (Roel Catoto / MindaNews)