The high-ranking communist rebel leader Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos was killed by government forces in Bukidnon, Mindanao this weekend, according to both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The AFP described Ka Oris as the “topmost wanted NPA (New People’s Army) commander in the country” and accused him of committing “murder, multiple murders with double frustrated murder, and robbery with double homicide and damage to properties.”
The military claims the rebel leader was killed in a firefight, while the CPP alleges he was unarmed and ambushed on his way to receive medical treatment. Marco Valbuena, the chief information officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, even accused Philippine government forces of staging airstrikes after the fact to “conceal their crime of murdering unarmed revolutionaries and create a false picture of an armed encounter.”
The elimination of Ka Oris marks yet another significant counter-insurgency success for Philippine security forces, coming on the heels of an operation conducted the day before — also in Mindanao — that killed Salahuddin Hassan, the jihadi leader of Daulah Islamiya.
Jorge "Ka Oris" Madlos
Not only was Ka Oris a prominent Maoist rebel figure, but his operational longevity is quite rare in modern militant history. He, a former student activist, is said to have gone underground in the 1970s to link up with the communist resistance in the countryside, joining the ranks of the New People’s Army. In 2011, a reporter named him as one of five pre-martial law (declared and signed by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1972) activists still in the movement, while Ka Oris said the figure was “about 10.”
Carolyn Arguillas describes how when martial law was announced, “the campus of the Central Mindanao University in Musuan, Bukidnon teemed with student groups discussing what options they would take now that the rumoured declaration of martial law had come true.” Ka Oris recalled how, eventually, “about a hundred [students] chose to go to the hills.”
He was reportedly incarcerated in Camp Crame from 1989 to 1991 and had been suffering from a debilitating illness since 1987, which could explain why he was killed alongside a medical aide and why, according to the CPP, he was on his way to receive treatment.
Over time, Ka Oris ascended to become a spokesperson for the New People’s Army and a highly respected public figure and writer within the political and military wings of the communist rebel movement in the Philippines. His death is being mourned and his life celebrated online and off by ideological sympathizers around the world.
Meanwhile, others have taken to social media to thank Philippine security forces for killing a leading figure of an insurgent movement they see as terrorizing swathes of the country.