Madlos’ wife likely to succeed key NPA post – Army

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 2 Nov) – The military said on Monday that Myrna Sularte, aka “Maria Malaya,” would most likely succeed her slain husband, Jorge Madlos, to head the National Operations Center (NOC) of the New People’s Army nationwide.

Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol (right), Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command chief, pins a medal to Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon who masterminded the operations that led to the killing of NPA leader Jorge Madlos (aka “Ka Oris”) in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. The awarding rites were held Monday (1 November 2021) at the 4th Infantry Division headquarters in Cagayan de Oro City. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command chief, said only Sularte, currently the secretary of the NPA North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), can succeed Madlos.

“Only she is left among the NPA leaders who have the stature like Madlos,” he said.

Almerol said the Communist Party of the Philippines would find it hard to replace Madlos, who was also a politburo member of its central committee.

The military said that Madlos, 72, was killed alongside his medical aide, Eighfel de La Pena alias “Ka Pica,” during a firefight with government troops who assaulted a rebel-held area in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing in Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon Saturday morning.

Sularte, however, denied it was a firefight, saying that Madlos and his aide were killed in an ambush in Impasug-ong Friday night. This she said in a statement issued in behalf of the National Democratic Front North Eastern Mindanao Region.

Almerol arrived in the 4th Infantry Division (4ID) headquarters in Barangay Patag here Monday morning to give medals to the commanders of the Army units involved in the military operations against Madlos.

Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol (seated, center), Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command chief, and 4ID commander Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., with the officers who led the military operations against NPA leader Jorge Madlos (aka “Ka Oris”), after awarding rites in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City on Monday (1 November 2021). MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., 4ID commander, said Philippine Air Force F50 jets were used to drop bombs on the rebel-held encampment in Sitio Gabunan on Friday night.

“We had to use the F50 jets to drop bombs to clear a path to the camp for our soldiers,” he said.

Brawner said all the jet planes landed safely at the Sasa Airport in Davao City after dropping their 500-lb bombs in Sitio Gabunan.

He said the camp was surrounded with anti-personnel mines, some as big as milk cans, that it would be impossible to breach without incurring casualties.

Brawner said the final assault was made by a platoon of 20 soldiers from the 8th Infantry Division, 1st Special Forces Battalion and the 2nd Army Ranger Company dawn on Saturday.

Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon, commander of the Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade, said the soldiers were only able to enter the camp around 11:30 a.m. on the same day. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)