DND, AFP affirm loyalty to Constitution as ex-military men air dismay to gov’t

The Department of National Defense (DND) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Tuesday, March 15, that it remains firm in its resolve to be loyal to the Constitution and duly constituted authorities.

Former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Antonio Parlade Jr. files his certificate of candidacy for president. (FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF NOEL PABALATE / MANILA BULLETIN)

This, as a group of former military officials led by retired general Antonio Parlade, who used to be the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), reportedly gathered at the People Power Monument along EDSA in Quezon City to express their dismay to the government over the alleged corruption at the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“The 145,000-strong soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines of the AFP stand solid behind the chain-of-command,” said Colonel Ramon Zagala, AFP spokesperson, in a statement.

Meanwhile, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana directed the AFP to “ignore” the group and Parlade, who ran for the presidency in the upcoming May 9 elections but was cut by the Comelec from the final list of candidates.

“Action taken: directed the AFP to ignore him, listen to him,” Lorenzana told reporters.

In their assembly, Parlade was asked if he was calling for a revolutionary government, which automatically abrogates the Constitution and puts all the powers of the government on the President. The group reportedly has 100 members, including members supporting the declaration of a revolutionary governement.

Although Parlade reportedly denied he was initiating a revolutionary government, he was quoted as saying that it could be a possibility if it would address the supposedly rampant corruption in the government.

In his recent column “Democracy in peril” at a daily newspaper, Parlade elaborated the alleged corruption at Comelec, saying the Constitution “provided too much power and autonomy” to certain constitutional bodies where checks and balances allegedly are no longer practiced.

“Corruption has enabled criminals to lord their control over us. The 1987 Constitution provided too much power and autonomy to certain constitutional bodies, and the three separate powers that none of them can check what the other is doing,” Parlade said.

“This is why Commolect is like that, so with Congress and their much abused PL . And we should know each of these PL and Congressmen will get around P560 million a year in PDAF which was already declared unconstitutional by the SC ,” he claimed.

“Do you think the SC is spared from corruption? Gising Pilipinas, ngayon na. Bukas bangungot na ‘yan (Wake up, Philippines, right now. Tomorrow it will be a nightmare),” he stated.

The AFP, for its part, expressed readiness to do whatever it takes to uphold the integrity of the Constitution “as we execute our duty to serve the nation.”

“While the AFP respects the people’s freedom of expression, we do not and will not support extra legal means outside the Constitution which we have sworn to protect including the sanctity of the electoral process,” Zagala said.

He reminded all military personnel to adhere to the rule of law and obey the chain of command, whoever is seated as the Commander-in-Chief.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines will remain a professional organization that will not engage in partisan politics and will at all times put the interest of the nation before personal views and opinions,” Zagala said.