A committee report was adopted by the Senate on Wednesday, March 10, to call for the dismissal of Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation cited in its report that it is illegal for Parlade – who is an active military officer as the head of the Southern Luzon Command – to hold another office.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who proposed the provision to the committee report for Parlade’s removal, notes that the lieutenant general’s appointment as spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC violates the provisions of the 1987 Constitution under Article XVI Section 5 which states that “no member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government.”
Senate Committee chairman Panfilo Lacson explains that “[the government’s anti-communist task force] is a civilian task force, not a military task force and therefore [the aforementioned constitutional provision] applies.”
Fellow NTF-ELCAC spokesperson and Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy rejected the recommendation for Parlade’s removal from post.
Parlade, too, rejected the senators’ call and left the recommendation as is – merely a recommendation. The lieutenant general also cited that 50 more active military officers also hold post in the NTF-ELCAC as it is neither a government agency nor a civilian task force, but a convergence of all government agencies battling communist insurgency.
Track record of ‘red-tagging’
Lt. Gen. Parlade was heavily criticized for his several remarks ‘red-tagging’ (a term used when individuals and groups are linked as members and fronts of communist groups) schools and famous personalities. Earlier this year, Parlade baselessly claimed several universities in Manila as “recruitment havens” of communist groups in which four universities – Far Eastern University, De La Salle University, University of Santo Tomas, and Ateneo De Manila University – refuted the claim.
Other individuals who were subjected to Parlade’s ‘red-tagging’ include an Inquirer reporter in early February this year. Pro-women advocate and actresses Liza Soberano was also red-tagged during late-October 2020. Actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin including two of her family members were not also spared from Parlade’s red-tagging. Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray was also included in the list of personalities red-tagged along with other actresses in which respective parties denounced.
Read the personalties’ respective statements below: