MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines has reason to believe Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spokesman Gregorio "Ka Roger" Rosal, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Tuesday.
Lacierda said he talked to AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta this morning who said that Rosal may be dead since he has not been seen for the past two years despite his designation as spokesperson of the CPP.
But Lacierda adds until Rosal's remains are found, the Palace can't be sure. Lacierda believes that Rosal's absence has no effect on the peace talks since the CPP-NPA-NDF has its own panel of negotiators.
Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali, commander of the military's Southern Luzon Command, earlier said Rosal may have died from a lingering illness.
Detabali made the statement a few weeks before the CPP marks its 42nd anniversary on December 26. The New People's Army (NPA) is the CPP's armed component.
Rosal headed the NPA's Melito Glor Command in the Southern Tagalog region and was later designated as spokesman of the CPP.
"We have intelligence report that he passed away long ago. He expired while being transported out of a hospital," he said.
Debatali said Rosal reportedly died 2 years ago.
Security officials had said that they have gotten reports of Rosal suffering from a severe stroke, and that he is also getting medical treatment for diabetes and hepatitis.
Detabali said the military is continuing to validate the information.
"We have problems locating the body. His family won't also say (what happened to Rosal)," the official said. With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News