Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday, April 22, chided controversial Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. for supposedly wasting government funds in red-tagging community pantry volunteers.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, asked whether the millions of pesos of intelligence funds embedded in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) budget is being used for red-tagging organizers of community pantries instead of helping the people.
‘’Kung may agenda ang organizers ng community pantries, tutumba ba ang gobyerno dahil nagbibigay sila? O napapahiya ang gobyerno dahil kulang ang ginagawa nila (If the organizers of community pantries have an agenda, will government fall because they help the needy? Or the government is just put to shame because its services are not enough)?’’ he asked.
Gordon said that “what Parlade is doing is a violation of freedom of expression, freedom of the people to express themselves and the right of the people to redress from grievances.”
‘’It’s imbecilic, stupid and shameful. Para silang China na nanunulak ng maliliit (They are like China, bullying the small states),’’ he added.
‘’Helping our people is natural to us and there are plenty of other things we can focus on. General Parlade should go back to the military instead of concentrating on harassing our people with red-tagging accusations,’’ he pointed out.
Parlade is the AFP Southern Command chief and also spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense committee, had asked the AFP leadership to yank Parlade out as NTF ELCAC spokesman because it is a civilian post.
The 1987 Constitution prohibits active members of the military to assume a civilian post in government.