Remains of slain rebel ‘Ka Oris’ immediately cremated after testing positive for COVID-19

DAVAO CITY — Slain rebel leader Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, was cremated on November 2 after he tested positive with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the military said.

Army’s Fourth Infantry Division Commander Major General Romeo Brawner Jr. confirmed that Madlos and his companion Eighfel dela Peña were tested positive of the virus based on the Reverse Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) results released by the Philippine National Red Cross on November 2.

Brawner added the cremation of the rebels’ remains were initiated by the Inter-Agency Task Force of local government of Impasugong in Bukidnon.

“They are the responsible agencies for the proper disposition of the remains in accordance with the COVID protocols and guidelines. Other forthcoming actions depend on the decision of the LGU”, he added in a statement.

Madlos and dela Peña were cremated at the Divine Shepherd Memorial Chapels in Cagayan de Oro City since there is no crematorium in Bukidnon province.

This development will deny the call of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to conduct an independent autopsy on the remains of the slain rebels.

CPP made the call for the autopsy following the claim of Madlos’ wife, Myrna Sularte alias Maria Malaya of the National Democratic Front Northeastern Mindanao Region, that his husband was killed in an ambush and not in an encounter.

Sularte said that her husband, accompanied by a medic, was on their way to the town proper of Impasugong for medical check up when they were ambushed.

The military has vehemently denied the accusation insisting that the 72-year old rebel leader and his medic were killed in a 30-minute clash with the government forces in the hinterlands of Impasugong.

Brawner said the remains were subjected to RT-PCR tests after their bodies were found by government troops following the encounter on October 30.

“We are committed to respecting human rights and in adhering to International Humanitarian Law, consistent with the rule of law. Our soldiers are professionals and have sworn to serve the people and protect the land. We have delivered justice for the victims of Madlos who was responsible and accountable for all the atrocities committed during his reign as a notorious and most wanted NPA Commander,” the division commander further said.

In September, the military also reported that several rebels who were captured or killed in series of clashes were also tested positive or showed symptoms of COVID-19.