Bukidnon

Bukidnon town fears NPA attack, sends Madlos’ ashes to military

Froilan Gallardo
Bukidnon town fears NPA attack, sends Madlos’ ashes to military

Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, in an undated photo in Mindanao where he leads the New Peoples Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

A spokesman of the Philippine military says the urn containing the ashes of slain NPA rebel leader Jorge 'Ka Oris' Madlos is in the headquarters of the 8th Infantry Battalion in Impasug-ong town, and no one has claimed it

Impasug-ong municipal officials sent the urn containing the ashes of slain New People’s Army (NPA) rebel leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos to a military headquarters in Bukidnon over fears that the town hall would be raided by his followers.

The remains of Madlos, who was killed by soldiers in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon last weekend, were cremated on Tuesday afternoon, November 2, after samples taken from him tested positive for COVID-19.

Major Francisco Garello Jr., 4th Infantry Division spokesperson said the urn was in the headquarters of the 8th Infantry Battalion in Impasug-ong, and as of 10 am Thursday, November 4, no one has claimed it.

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He said Impasug-ong Mayor Anthony Uy sent the urn to 8th IB commander Lieutenant Colonel Edgardo Talaroc Jr. on Wednesday, fearing that the rebels might attack the town center and the municipal hall to take the ashes of Madlos.

The military had turned over Madlos’ body to the town government immediately after RT-PCR test results showed the slain septuagenarian had caught the virus. 

The local COVID-19 task force then decided to have Madlos’ remains cremated in Cagayan de Oro.

Garello released a copy of Madlos’ RT-PCR test results from the Philippine Red Cross Molecular Laboratory in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.

The military also released a copy of a November 3 authority to cremate provided by the Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels in Cagayan de Oro City.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has criticized what it called the military’s use of pandemic protocols to rush the cremation of the remains of the slain chief of the NPA’s national operations command.

Hours before the cremation, the CPP called for independent autopsies on the remains of Madlos and his medical aide Eighfel Dela Peña to determine exactly how they died.

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“They did not even have the human decency to wait for the family to view his (Madlos’) remains for the last time,” said Marco Valbuena, CPP chief information officer. 

The CPP pointed out that Bukidnon does not have a crematorium and people who have died of COVID-19 in the province were merely buried.

But in the case of Madlos, he said, officials had his body transported to Cagayan de Oro for cremation, raising suspicions that Impasug-ong officials were influenced into making the decision. –Rappler.com

Froilan Gallardo and Grace Cantal-Albasin are Mindanao-based journalists and awardees of Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship