No more autopsy as body of NPA leader cremated
ILIGAN CITY, Lanao del Norte, Philippines — Swab tests conducted on the remains of rebel leader Jorge Madlos and his medical aide showed they were positive for COVID-19, prompting the military to cremate their bodies instead of turning these over to their families who earlier asked for an independent autopsy.
Maj. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., commander of the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, said Madlos, a senior New People’s Army (NPA) commander also known as “Ka Oris,” and Eighfel dela Peña, known as “Pika” or “Maui,” were cremated in accordance with government health protocols.
He said the remains were subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction tests, a standard operating procedure for the military, after their bodies were found by government troops following a 30-minute clash on Oct. 29. The military’s account of how Madlos and Dela Peña died, however, had been disputed by the NPA and the rebel leader’s family, saying they were ambushed.
“The remains of Madlos and Dela Peña were cremated based on the decision of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) and in accordance with the existing COVID-19 protocols,” Brawner said in a statement released by the 4th ID.
The military said the ashes had been turned over to the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the local government of Impasugong in Bukidnon province on Tuesday.
“They are the responsible agencies for the proper disposition of the remains in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Other forthcoming actions depend on the decision of the [local government],” Brawner said.
‘Getting away with murder’
But the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) questioned the decision to cremate Madlos’ remains, saying the military was “trying to get away with murder.”
“The AFP’s lies to cover up their murder of Ka Oris and Ka Pika just continue to pile up,” Marco Valbuena, the CPP chief information officer, said in a statement emailed to the Inquirer. “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. They did not even have the human decency to wait for the family to view his remains for the last time,” Valbuena said.
Madlos’ wife, Maria Malaya, earlier said her husband and Dela Peña were ambushed after they left Impasugong town, refuting the military’s claim that the NPA leader died in a clash with government troops. Malaya said Madlos, who was on his way to a medical checkup, was unarmed.
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