By Ellson Quismorio
Major General Antonio Parlade Jr. insinuated Friday that militants connected to the Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives aren’t the legitimate dissenters they say they are but are instead “outright terrorists.”
“They are talking of truth? What an irony. So tell me, ‘Kamatayan (Death)’ Bloc, why can’t you answer the issue on child warriors? Planted ba ang mga bata dun sa (Were the kids planted in the) Bacolod raid? Sa Escalante? Sa Samar encounter? Surigao, Bicol, Northern Luzon?” Parlade said in a statement sent to the Manila Bulletin Friday.
“We are not stupid not to discern who are legit dissenters from outright terrorist(s),” added the firebrand official, who serves as spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s (AFP) National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
On Wednesday, Parlade was reportedly asked to leave a Quezon City forum organized by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT). The forum was titled “Weaponizing the Law: Silencing Opposition and Dissenters.”
Party-lists with links to the Makabayan House faction celebrated Parlade’s ejection, as they described his action as an “attempt to gatecrash” the forum in order to spread “lies.”
Parlade took exception to this and turned the tables on the militants, which government forces have long associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“Explain what the CPP “Limang Taong Programa 2017-2021” meant when it said “hikayatin ang mga AKTIBISTA na maging PULTAYM na sa HUKBO (encourage activists to serve the army full-time).” Isn’t it that document talking about YOU? Which you say are simply DISSENTERS?” Parlade said, emphasis his.
“Explain what the CPP doc mean(s) when it says ‘ligal at iligal…litaw at lubog na organisadong masa.’ Di ba kayo yon? Legal front organization at illegal underground mass organization tulad ng KM na nakatago sa Anakbayan, Kaguma na baon sa ACT, LUMABAN na nakahalo sa NUPL?” he said.
(Explain what the CPP document means when it says ‘legal and illegal…the rise and fall of organized masses.’ Isn’t that you? Legal front organization and illegal underground mass organization like the Kabataang Makabayan hidden in Anakbayan, Katipunan ng Gurong Makabayan that’s buried in Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Lupon ng Manananggol Para sa Bayan that is within the National Union of People’s Lawyers?)
Parlade took a further dig at the forum organizers, whom he also referred to as propagandists.
“So who is hiding and suppressing the truth? The person who walks in to explain to future CPP recruits their methods? Or the Forum organizers who do not want a lone attendee to be heard, sends him out for them to be able to continue their agitation and propaganda?” he said.
Parlade belied claims of the Makabayan Bloc that the military has been responsible for human rights violations, especially in the countryside.
“You talk of human rights abuses when we have none of that in the AFP for the past seven years now,” he said.
“Let people judge. But at least allow your paid media propagandists to get the response of the other side,” Parlade added.