DAVAO CITY, PHILIPPINES – The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) confirmed the death of New People’s Army (NPA) top official Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos and his female medical aide.
In a statement released on October 31, the NDFP said Ka Oris, head of the National Operations Command (NOC) of the NPA and his companion were ambushed while on board a motorcycle on their way to Poblacion, Impasug-ong on Friday evening, October 29.
“According to reports, there was no gunfight and there was no airstrike in the mountainous area of Impasug-ong, and most especially, there was no gunfight in the provincial highway during that time,” said Maria Malaya, spokesperson of NDF in Northeastern Mindanao Region (NEMR).
Malaya said Ka Oris was unarmed when he left the area for his regular medical checkup and treatment. Ka Oris had been known for having a colostomy bag because of his long-time renal ailment.
“We challenge Maj. Gen. 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,” she said.
Malaya said the military failed to follow the rules of engagement to unarmed combatants.
“He (Ka Oris) was in a situation where he was unable to fight back, still, they killed him and this should not have been done by the AFP/PNP while they claim to follow the “rules of engagement or rules of war,” she said.
The 4ID said soldiers from the 403rd Infantry Brigade launched the attack after they were informed that a mass of rebels from the insurgent group’s various units including Komiteng Mindanao’s National Operations Command (NOC); Regional Operations Command (ROC), HQ Neo; RSDG Compaq; and Guerrilla Front 89 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Command were holding teach-ins and indoctrination in the area.
Brig. Gen. Ferdinand Barandon, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, said the rebels were laden with anti-personnel mines (APMs) and cannot be breached without expecting casualties.
“The CNT (term the military used for Communist guerrillas) positions were fortified with APMs, hence, we can assume at that time that they were protecting their top leadership. In order to protect our troops, we called for close air support and delivered air strikes toward the CNT positions,” Barandon said.
At around 11:30 a.m. on October 30, after an air assault, ground troops pushed on and fought the rebels, he said.
After a 30-minute firefight, the soldiers scoured and cleared the area and found two cadavers, an M14 rifle, a KG9 rifle, pieces of ammunition, other war materiel, and assorted personal belongings.
The military identified Ka Oris’ female companion as Eighfel dela Peña alias Pika/Maui who was the communications and medical staff of the NOC.
Hunt for Malaya
Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., 4ID commander, said the military’s next target is Myrna Sularte alias Maria Malaya, who the army believes is operating in Caraga region.
“There are still other [NPA] commanders, especially Malaya who is now operating in Caraga. She is the highest officer in Caraga,” Brawner told reporters during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
With Madlos’ death, Brawner said it is better for Sularte to go back to the fold of the law citing the futility of continuing the armed struggle.