A support group for families and friends of political prisoners has aired concerns over the threat made by a military official to a female reporter over her news article.
Kapatid expressed Friday, Feb. 5, its support reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas who was red-tagged and threatened by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade over the former’s report entitled “Tortured Aetas seek SC help against anti-terror law.”
“The threats of Parlade against Tupas who simply wrote a news story based on a pleading filed before the Supreme Court should concern all of us,” Kapatid Spokesperson Fides Lim said in a statement.
“It is dreadful that a military officer cannot even distinguish facts from falsehood because he is too steeped in his own prejudices and paranoia that he wishes to entrap us all in,” she added.
In a Facebook post, Parlade wrote: “Congratulations for a sloppy work Tetch Torres-Tupaz of Inquirer.net. You did not even bother to check the side of the AFP and gov’t if what you are reporting is true or FAKE. Propagandista. No such thing happened. That unit is not even there but in Davao.”
The military official, who is the spokesperson of the government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, also hinted of possible filing of charges when he responded to a comment and replied: “Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? PUEDE (possible).”
In her article, Tupas wrote that two Aetas, who claim to have been tortured by the military and detained over trumped up charges after their arrest in Zambales, sought to be included among the petitioners asking the Supreme Court (SC) to declare the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) as unconstitutional.
Lim noted that journalists do not deserve to be harassed and vilified for doing their job of telling the truth and provide perspective to the stories they write.
“Since we filed a petition for the release of at-risk prisoners, Tupas and the other justice beat reporters never failed to write straightforward stories about political prisoners,” she said.
“They include the first two casualties of the Anti-Terrorism Act, Aeta tribesmen Junior Ramos and Jasper Gurung who was forced to eat his own feces to make him admit that he is an NPA member,” she added.
The group has asked the High Court to take judicial notice of Parlade’s remarks, saying such statements is the very nature of ATA or the Republic Act 11479—“arbitrary, accusatory, persecutory and conclusory despite utter lack of evidence.”
“Both the Anti-Terrorism Act and the ilk of Parlade have no place in a working democracy,” said the statement.