Government troops have cremated Jorge Madlos’ remains and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is furious.
Reacting to reports that the slain rebel leader’s remains were cremated, CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena said in a statement that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is trying to get away with murder.
“The AFP’s lies to cover up their murder of Ka Oris (Madlos) and Ka Pika (his aide Eighfel Dela Peña) just continue to pile up. They are trying to get away with murder by burning all evidence, when they had Ka Oris’ remains cremated with dispatch, on the pretext of Covid-19 protocols,” Valbuena said.
“They did not even have the human decency to wait for the family to view his remains for the last time,” he added.
A Rappler report said that Philippine Army 4th Infantry Division commander Major General Romeo Brawner Jr., announced on Wednesday, November 3, that the swab test performed on Madlos showed he was COVID-19 positive and his remains were turned over to the town government of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.
Brawner said the town’s COVID-19 task force took Madlos to the Divine Shepherd Crematorium in Cagayan de Oro City for cremation and returned the ashes back to Impasug-ong.
Brawner reportedly said it would be up to the Impasug-ong town government to decide to whom the urn would be given.
Rappler’s report added that younger brother Rito was on his way to Bukidnon to collect the ashes.
The CPP however questioned the move, asking who gave the AFP the right to decide to cremate Madlos’s remains?
“If they wanted to follow protocols, then Ka Oris’ remains could (and should) have been buried in Impasug-ong, especially since there are no cremation facilities in Bukidnon,” Valbuena said.
The CPP spokesperson also noted that Department of Health COVID-19 protocols do not provide cremation as the only option for disposing of remains.
“This further reinforces our view that the AFP is covering-up their crime,” Valbuena said.
Valbuena added that by unilaterally having Madlos’ remains cremated, the AFP has also eliminated all chances of clearing their (military’s) name.
Madlos and Dela Peña were reportedly on board a motorcycle from Impasug-ong on their way to a medical treatment session when killed by 4thID troopers.
The NPA spokesperson is publicly known to be suffering from renal failure for years.
In separate statements, the CPP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North East Mindanao Region alleged Madlos was waylaid when he is unarmed and was in no condition to fight on Friday, October 29.
Valbuena said that even if Madlos was indeed COVID-19 infected, the military should not have feared having independent pathologists perform an autopsy.
He noted that the same tactic was used on fallen rebel leader Kerima Tariman’s remains in Negros Island that the military agreed to give back to her family only after being cremated.
“Indeed, cremation has become part of the AFP’s protocol to hide their crimes and prop up a false image of respecting human rights,” Valbuena said.
The tactic violates cultural sensitivities, Valbuena said, adding in a separate statement that the AFP “set aside honor in facing an adversary.”
“In waging war, it is natural to win some and lose some. But there are rules that govern war that humanity have established in the course of civilization. Ka Oris, himself, did not preclude himself getting killed in battle,” Valbuena explained.
Madlos was erstwhile NDFP-Mindanao spokesperson before becoming spokesperson of the New People’s Army’s national operational command in 2016.
In its second national congress in the same year, the CPP elected him as a member of its Central Committee, its Political Bureau, and its Executive Committee.
The CPP congress also tasked Madlos to be among the leading cadres in the CPP’s Military Commission and its Mindanao Commission.
He was also assigned as a consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations.
Madlos is the most senior CPP cadre to die at the hands of the AFP after fellow CPP Central Committee, Political Bureau and Executive Committee stalwart Julius Giron who died in a military raid in Baguio City last March 13. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)