âDonât shoot the messenger,â Defense reporters tell AFPâs Parlade
This photo shows Major Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy chief of staff for civil military operations.
‘Don’t shoot the messenger,’ Defense reporters tell AFP’s Parlade
(Philstar.com) - May 9, 2019 - 7:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — It is unfair for the military to accuse reporters of being biased and of colluding with communists for not writing about a "stale" pronouncement, the Defense Press Corps said Thursday.

The DPC was referring to a letter by Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations, sent to editors of media outfits and spread on social media.

Parlade accused reporters of bias when they failed to carry the statement made by Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, about the writs of amparo and habeas data that the Supreme Court granted the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers on Friday.

“These media are allowing their government to be punched and bullied without giving it an opportunity to air its side, or more appropriately, to express the truth,” Parlade said.

He also alleged that reporters do “not want to expose the truth about these front organizations” of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The groups have stressed they are legal organizations and are not rebels.

The reporters said that while Arevalo discussed the case filed by the NUPL against the AFP, no DPC member carried his statement because “it was, to put it bluntly, a rehash of a written statement he issued three days earlier.”

The STAR on May 5 reported that the AFP declared it is ready and willing to refute all charges following the SC decision granting the issuance of the writ of amparo and habeas data to the NUPL. 

‘Beholden to no one’

DPC stressed that it is an organization indebted to no one—not to the AFP, the Department of National Defense, the NUPL, the left and other state and non-state actors.

“It is a very unfortunate that MGen. Parlade, who is supposed to bridge the gap between the AFP and the ordinary people as the military’s top civil military operations officer, is shooting the messenger by falsely and randomly accusing DPC members of transgression on our core values,” the reporters said, adding Parlade’s intention of spreading his letter in social media is questionable.

They added: “To be accused of bias, merely by not carrying a stale statement, sends a chilling message to media practitioners to parrot the military line or else, be discredited.”

Parlade's statement came less than a week after the country's observance of the World Press Freedom Day. Media watchdogs have noted “big spikes” on the incidences of red-tagging in the last six months. 

SC protection

Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and Gabriela also  sought relief from the Supreme Court Monday over what they said was the state's tagging of its members as being legal fronts of the CPP. Their filing came days after the SC ordered the government to explain red-tagging of the members of the NUPL.

Philippine jurisprudence defines red-tagging as “the act of labelling, branding, naming and accusing individuals and/or organizations of being left-leaning, subversives, communists or terrorists (used as) a strategy... by State agents, particularly law enforcement agencies and the military, against those perceived to be ‘threats’ or ‘enemies of the State.’

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