Military officials on Sunday, October 31, showed reporters photographs as their proof that Jorge Madlos, the highest ranking National Democratic Front (NDF) official known in Mindanao, was killed in Bukidnon.
Madlos was NDF spokesman for Mindanao and served as a New People’s Army (NPA) commander.
“Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, is dead,” Major General Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said in a news conference at Camp Osito Bahian in Malaybalay City.
Brawner said Madlos was killed when communist rebels clashed with soldiers from the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, the 1st Special Forces Battalion, and a Scout Ranger company in Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong town in Bukidnon, on Friday, October 29.
He said soldiers found the bodies of Madlos and his medical aide, identified only as Mavic, at a forested area in Sitio Gabunan at around 11:30 am on Saturday, October 30.
In a statement on Sunday evening, NDF-Northeast Mindanao confirmed Madlos’ death, but denied that an encounter took place.
NDF-Northeast Mindanao spokesperson Maria Malaya said Madlos and his companion were ambushed and killed while onboard a motorcycle on their way to the national highway.
“There was no exchange of gunfire because Ka Oris was unarmed when he left the area for his regular medical checkup and treatment,” Malaya said.
“We challenge Brawner to reveal to the media and the public what really happened, to not be a big liar, for only then can he truly take pride in his achievement of killing Ka Oris.”
Madlos had long suffered from a renal ailment, and was known to have a colostomy bag.
The military did not present Madlos’ body to reporters, but first showed them a photograph of a dead man, who looked like the NPA leader, being swabbed for COVID-19 at the encounter site.
The photo showed the body of a clean-shaven elderly man with a mole near his right ear. Madlos had always sported a goatee in his photographs.
The military subsequently released more photos in the afternoon.
Brigadier General Ferdinand Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, could not say if soldiers found a colostomy bag. He said he would direct soldiers to check the body they found.
Barandon also said the body was swabbed so that samples could be tested for COVID-19, adding that most of the NPA rebels killed during encounters or arrested since October turned out to be infected with COVID-19 or showed symptoms.
He said the bodies would be brought down to Impasug-ong town and turned over to the Philippine National Police.
“But if they are found to be positive, they will be buried right there in the encounter site,” Barandon said. – Rappler.com