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CPP announces death of Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal

A screengrab of the CPP website announcing the death of Gregorio 'Ka Roger' Rosal.
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE - 4:21 p.m.) The Communist Party of the Philippines belatedly announced on Sunday the death of its former spokesman, Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.

According to a statement posted on the CPP website, Rosal, 64, died of a heart attack “in a guerrilla zone on June 22.”

“The public announcement was delayed to allow the concerned organs of the CPP to inform Ka Roger's daughters of their father's demise,” the statement said. “Intense military operations prevented information from reaching his daughters with dispatch. Ka Roger's siblings have also been informed of his passing.”

The CPP said all units of the New People’s Army “will fall in formation to pay tribute to Ka Roger” on October 15 and render “a gun salute in his memory.”

In a separate statement, the CPP’s Central Committee paid tribute to Rosal, who was the Party’s spokesman for more than a decade and, before this, of the NPA’s Melito Glor Command in Southern Tagalog.

“Ka Roger was the face and voice of the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. He symbolized the struggle of ordinary folk - the peasant masses, workers, the urban poor, employees and small professionals - who had lofty aspirations of liberation from the ruling system that oppressed and exploited them,” the Central Committee said.

Over the years, Rosal eluded several attempts to capture him, including the infamous abduction of his then three-year old daughter Andrea from her grandmother’s house in Ragay, Camarines Sur in 1989 in an effort to force him to surrender.

“Instead of succumbing to such pressure, Ka Roger bravely exposed this heinous crime to the media. The military was forced to release Andrea in the face of the ensuing public outcry,” the CPP leadership said.

There had long been speculation about Rosal’s health since he suffered a stroke in 1997, with the military at times hinting that he had died. There had also been several offers of medical treatment from the military, all of which were refused.

According to the CPP Central Committee, he suffered two more strokes – the second in 2000 and the third on May 1, 2006, incidentally International Labor Day, which “caused more damage to his body” and after which he was “cared for by a team of comrades who ensured his security, medical needs and quality of life.”

“Until he breathed his last, Ka Roger devoted every moment of life to the hungry and deprived and their revolutionary struggle for social justice and national liberation,” the statement said.

Rosal was born to Pablo Rosal and Crispina Crusat, sugarcane plantation workers, in Ibaan, Batangas on April 19, 1947.

He went underground after escaping from detention in 1973.

As CPP spokesman, a post assigned him in 1993, Rosal was very accessible to media and would often call up news outfits.

He was married to Rosemari "Ka Soly" Dumanais, although the CPP Central Committee said they divorced in 2003.

Dumanais died in an encounter with the military early this year, according to the CPP's Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.