by WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL
Publish in Manila Times
ONE of the most senior and charismatic leades of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army’s (CPP-NPA) is gravely ill, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Jorge Madlos alias Ka Oris, newly-appointed Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya said on Wednesday, has been bed-ridden since the first quarter of the year, which condition explains why Madlos has not been seen nor heard from for quite a long time.
“He has a kidney problem. He is sick of that,” Visaya added.
He said Madlos is resting in a rebel camp somewhere in Bukidnon, Agusan del Norte or Surigao del Sur.
According to Visaya, Madlos is as charismatic as the late NPA spokesman Gregorio Rosal, also known as Ka Roger, who died in 2011.
He recalled that it took the CPP-NPA one year before it admitted that Rosal has died, saying it was purposely done, as in the case of Madlos, while they were still looking for his replacement.
Madlos, 66, is the spokesman for the Mindanao Commission of the CPP.
He admitted during the 42nd anniversary of the CPP in 2010 that he was suffering from renal disease.
Madlos is among the top contenders to replace Benito Tiamzon as chairman and secretary general of the CPP-NPA.
Tiamzon and his wife Wilma were arrested in Cebu last March.
Prior to his appointment as Solcom chief, Visaya was commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Northern Mindanao.
According to him, one-half of the total strength of the NPA is concentrated in Northern Mindanao, where there are 800 to 900 rebel fighters.
He said tone of their main concerns is the capture of Madlos, who was last spotted in Surigao del Sur.
Madlos earlier said the NPA is growing stronger in Mindanao and would reach “strategic stalemate” with the government in few years, and, eventually toward a socialist revolution.
“Despite the AFP’s military and psy-war operations. . . the revolutionary bases have rapidly expanded and gained strength in more than 2,000 barrios in more than 200 municipalities and 19 provinces in Mindanao,” he claimed.
From 2011 to 2013, Madlos said, casualties sustained by the AFP have risen to at least a battalion per year while that by the NPA did not go beyond a platoon each year for the same period.