After the most sought New People’s Army (NPA) spokesperson and Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF) leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos was killed in an encounter in the mountainous terrain of Sitio Gabunan, Brgy. Dumalaguing, Impasugong, Bukidnon on October 30, the CPP accused state forces of “staging” an armed confrontation ostensibly to legitimize the killing of the aforementioned high-profile terrorist leader, claiming that he was ambushed while on his way to seek medical help.
According to CPP chief information officer Marco Valbuena, Ka Oris and his companion Eighfel Dela Peña were unarmed and ambushed in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon on Saturday while riding a motorcycle on their way to obtain medical treatment. Valbuena added that the two “were not in a position to give battle or fight back and were murdered in cold-blood.”
“To conceal their crime of murdering unarmed revolutionaries and create a false picture of an armed encounter, the 4th ID staged aerial strikes four hours later in the vicinity of Barangay Dumalaguing, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon,” the CPP added.
The Philippine Army, on the other hand, refuted these claims, claiming that the two were killed in a legitimate encounter, and that the communist group’s assertions are nothing but a last-ditch attempt to salvage face by employing hackneyed tropes to undermine the military unit’s achievements.
Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) said that, “The CPP’s official statement of lies is nothing new. It was nothing but an overused line that the CPP has been using for many years whenever they find themselves in a disadvantaged position.”
“If they must lie, they should at least be original to sound convincing. In this case, they have failed to persuade the people by using the same lie over and over again,” added Lt. Gen. Almerol.
“They have been lying to the people for decades to advance their agenda of violence and rob the people of peace and development that they should have been enjoying in their communities many years ago,” Almerol further said who also reiterated that there is “not a single honest bone in the CPP leaders’ and members’ bodies.”
Similarly, the commander of the 4th Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., denied that Ka Oris was unarmed and ambushed, saying the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) “respects international humanitarian law” and has no business “ambushing unarmed combatants, especially riding on the motorcycle.” Brawner also stated that a legitimate encounter occurred, and that Ka Oris died in the said clash.
According to Brawner, it is the other way around, where the CPP-NPA-NDF forces used anti-personnel mines to ambush police and military personnel, including civilians, as in the case of a university football player who died in a landmine planted by NPA guerilla forces in Masbate in June this year, for which the CPP-NPA took responsibility.
“Sila ang nag-a-ambush ng mga nakasakay sa bisikleta. Si Kieth Absalon was riding with his uncle on a bicycle, at in-ambush sila ng NPA using landmines,” the military officer told a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday.
Likewise, AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala contradicted the CPP’s assertion that Ka Oris was unarmed due to his position in the NPA leadership.
“Being at the top leadership of the NPA, he is protected 24/7 by more or less 40 NPAs. It is unlikely he will move without these armed elements as claimed by the NPA,” Zagala said.
Ka Oris was the most wanted NPA commander in the country, wanted for a variety of crimes including robbery with double homicide and damage to properties.