'Ka Roger,' NPA's long-time spokesman passes away

Thea Alberto-Masakayan
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal, a key official of the communist New People's Army (NPA) has passed away, the group said Sunday.

"Nagpupugay ang buong kasapian at pamunuan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), lahat ng Pulang mandirigma at kumander ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) at lahat ng rebolusyonaryong pwersa kay Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal," the communist rebel group said in a statement.

'Ka Roger' who was the voice of the rebels, died on June 22 due to a heart attack.

He was 64.

He was long reported dead but without confirmation from the group until Sunday.

NPA said the announcement of Ka Roger's death was withheld "to allow the concerned organs of the CPP to inform Ka Roger's daughters of their father's demise."

"Intense military operations prevented information from reaching his daughters with dispatch. Ka Roger's siblings have also been informed of his passing," the revolutionary group added.

As a tribute to Ka Roger, members of the communist group will "fall in formation" on October 15, and will execute a gun salute at 12 noon.

As spokesman of the rebels, 'Ka Roger' was described by comrades as the bearer of the good news.

The rebels said Ka Roger first suffered a stroke but quickly recovered in 1997. He however suffered another stroke in 2000 and went on leave for a few months.

In 2006, Ka Roger had his third stroke and this limited his physical capacity, NPA added.

"He persevered in overcoming his disabilities. But the severity of the damage caused by this stroke led to the gradual deterioration of his condition until it became impossible for him to resume his previous tasks," the NPA said.

From then on, Ka Roger received medical treatments from his comrades.

"Ang kanyang tinig ay nagpaalab sa tapang ng mga Pulang mandirigma at mamamayang nakikibaka. Siya ang naging daluyan ng mga dulog ng mga inaapi at niyuyurakan na nag-aasam ng katarungan," the statement added.