The Senate national defense and security committee on Monday threatened to hit back at the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
‘’All I can say is: They made their choice, and it will cost them,’’ Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman, said after the National Security Adviser General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., NTF-ELCAC, announced that Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr., chief of the AFP Southern Luzon command, would stay as the task force spokesman.
Esperon also announced that there would also be eight other spokespersons of the Task Force.
A recent report of the Lacson committee recommended the ouster of Parlade as the NTF ELCAC spokesman because that post, based on the 1987 Constitution, should be headed by a civilian.
Parlade had been criticized for supposedly red-tagging personalities, some lawmakers and a few alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP), and his controversial remarks on community pantries.
In a statement, Lacson said that ‘’since the time the NTF-ELCAC was created, being the principal sponsor of their annual budget, I have been their most reliable ally in the Senate – until now.’’
‘’That said, there’s no point discussing, much less arguing with people who refuse to listen to reason and adhere to the rule of law,’’ he stressed.
‘’The Senate as an institution has made our collective and legal position on the issue of the appointment of Parlade as an active military officer in a civilian position – which the Constitution clearly proscribes,’’ he added.