Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio G. Parlade Jr. “should be fired, not just relieved of his command.”
This was demanded by the members of the Concerned Lawyers for Civil Liberties (CLCL). Among its members are former Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Sen. Rene Saguisag and former University of the Philippines Dean Pacifico Agabin.
In a statement issued Sunday, Feb. 7, CLCL said: “We call for a stop to this wanton and unrestrained attack on the people through red-tagging that has led to the death of the victims in many occasions… because Parlade’s acts constitute as threats to the lives and security of many.”
Parlade is also the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The CLCL said it “condemns the latest terrorist tagging by Lt. Gen. Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. when he attacked a member of the media covering the Supreme Court (SC) oral arguments on petitions against Republic Act No. 11479, the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.”
“This attack on members of the media for allegedly spreading ‘lies’ and propaganda against the terror law, only further chills the people’s right to freedom of expression and is an attack on our constitutional rights,” it said.
It lamented that “General Parlade has been red-tagging perceived dissenters such as celebrities, church people, members of the opposition, activists and various schools and universities and even media for years now.”
“Despite calls from concerned human rights advocates for General Parlade to stop his red-tagging, he has relentlessly and without remorse persisted in his distorted conception that those who do not agree with government policies are ‘communists’ and ‘terrorists,’” it pointed out.
Parlade’s acts, it added, “only shows that the Anti-Terror Law is intended for dissent and not against terrorist groups fomenting vile extremism.”
Early on Sunday, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) urged the SC to include during the resumption of the oral arguments on the 37 petitions against ATA set on Tuesday, Feb. 9, the issue on the “threat” to sue journalists under the new law.
The “threat” hurled Parlade has been manifested last Friday by retired SC Associate Justices Antonio T. Carpio and Conchita Carpio Morales and their group in a pleading.
“The red-tagging of Parlade may also come out in the course of the interpellations if the Justices deem relevant or material in general or in particular,” NUPL president Edre U. Olalia said.
Last Feb. 4, the NUPL, in a statement, said the Parlade’s threat is “actually reinforcing and validating the myriad of objections and criticisms against ATA.”
On the other hand, Carpio and Morales’ group told the SC:
“Such direct threats endanger fear that chills journalists or even citizens from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”
The manifestation cited the case of an online reporter, Tetch Torres-Tupaz, whom Parlade said in his social media post that she can be sued for “aiding the terrorist.”
In the case of Tupaz, posts were made by Parlade on the journalist’s article on inquirer.net entitled “Tortured Aetas seek SC help against anti-terror law.”
Tupaz’s article stated that two Aetas, who claim to have been tortured by the military and detained over trumped up charges following their arrest in Zambales, sought to be included among the petitioners asking the SC to declare ATA unconstitutional.
Parlade’s comment on the article: “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 also hinted of possible filing of charges when he responded to a Facebook comment and replied: “Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? PUEDE (possible).”