Ka Oris’ remains were cremated by the AFP to cover-up its crimes
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) strongly condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for unilaterally having the remains of Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris) cremated today under the pretext of “complying with Covid-19 protocols.” CPP information officer Marco L. Valbuena said that the AFP is attempting to get away with the murder of Ka Oris and Ka Pika on October 29 by burning all evidences. By cremating his remains, the AFP has closed all possibility to have his remains autopsied by independent pathologists. The cremation also defied the wishes of his relatives and the revolutionary movement to return his remains to Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte to view his remains for the last time.
Valbuena criticized the cremation of Ka Oris’ remains which had to be transported to Cagayan de Oro from Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. He said that if the AFP wanted to follow health protocols, it “could (and should)” have just buried the remains in Impasug-ong since there are no cremation facilities in Bukidnon. “That they even had to transport the body to Cagayan de Oro (which is a few hours away) to avail of cremation facilities there reinforces our view that the AFP is covering-up their crime.”
Valbuena also clarified that Ka Oris and his medic, Ka Pika, were not killed in an encounter. They were ambushed by the 403rd Infantry Bridgae on October 29, 2021, at around 8 p.m. while on their way to the national highway in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon from the town’s Poblacion. Ka Oris exited the guerrilla zone to for his regular checkup and to seek medical treatment. Both Ka Oris and Ka Pika were unarmed and in no position to give battle.
Four hours after they were slain, the military dropped six bombs, fired rockets and strafed the forested areas of Sitio Gabunan, Barangay Dumalaguing, in the same town. The following day, October 30, the military reported that military units supposedly cleared the area. The AFP made it appear that its units “encountered” Ka Oris’ unit at around 11 a.m.
Valbuena explained that the AFP’s proposition that an encounter took place in the same area after ten hours. Given that length of time, the unit would have withdrawn to a safe distance if there was indeed a camp in the area. It could have been more credible if the military said that the encounter took place in an adjacent area.
When asked by journalists, the AFP could not produce photographs of the encounter site which it usually does after controlling a camp of the New People’s Army (NPA). All photographs of Ka Oris’ remains were tight shots, without showing where these were taken. The only evidence that the military is repeatedly using is its bombing and strafing of the area.
Valbuena also explained that Ka Oris rarely shaves off his goatee and moustache, unless he has to travel outside an NPA area and needs to “disguise” himself or alter his appearance to avoid enemy detection. He never travels armed or with armed bodyguards.
Valbuena also belied the statement of Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol ng Eastern Mindanao Command that Ka Oris frequented Cagayan de Oro City to undergo regular dialysis supposedly because he suffered from kidney failure. According to Valbuena, “If he needed regular dialysis, he would not have lasted long in the guerrilla zone.” Valbuena clarified that “remained generally healthy and able to march for days on end, even during the past few months of guerrilla maneuvers in the face of intense military operations.” It is true that Ka Oris suffered from a damaged urinary bladder which resulted from an untreated infection when imprisoned in 1987-1992, but “this was not life-threatening or debilitating.”
Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. is also peddling a lie that Ka Oris’ had a “network” of supporters who are doctors and nurses in Cagayan de Oro at Bukidnon who could have given medical attention to him. This claim rang alarm bells as this could be used to subject health workers in the area to red-tagging. In recent years, the military has been waging a relentless red-tagging campaign against activists, ordinary civilians, and even professionals in Cagayan de Oro. Among those it maliciously red-tagged are organizers of community pantries, members of the religious community, lawyers, journalists and students.