Parlade sticks to guns on comment vs reporter
Screen grab shows Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. attending a Senate hearing on red-tagging.
Screen grab/Senate of the Philippines YouTube

Parlade sticks to guns on comment vs reporter

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - February 9, 2021 - 12:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. is sticking to his guns that Inquirer.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas based her article on her “old perception” of the military, not on a petition that was filed in the Supreme Court and is available as public record.

The general, however, said he could "probably apologize" that his Facebook rant reflected on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, to which he is a spokesperson. He said that his post was personal and he did not intend to drag NTF-ELCAC into the mess caused by his calling Torres-Tupas a propagandist for rebels.

In an interview with ANC’s Headstart on Tuesday, Parlade said he does not intend to sue Torres-Tupas when he replied “Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? Puede” to a social media user on his post claiming her report as fake.

Parlade said he was merely saying a complaint may be filed against the journalist. He added that cyber libel raps may be filed against her too. “We don’t even have to invoke this [Anti-Terrorism Act],” he added.

The military general said he sends his apology if his comments scared Torres-Tupas since he did not mean any harm. “Kung yun lang naman ang kailangan, just to assure Ms. Tupas that we mean no harm on her, yeah, of course, I’d like to say sorry to those circulating the news that I’m threatening her. I am not," Parlade added.

Asked on what specifically he is apologizing for, Parlade said it appears that the Torres-Tupas is becoming scared, “because of the way the media portrays this issue,” even though that was not his intention.

But the military general maintained that he, as an ordinary citizen and not as NTF-ELCAC official, was only commenting on Torres-Tupas’ report that he deems is wrong.

“I’m not suing Ms. Tupas. I’m not suing Inquirer. I’m just raising an important issue na hindi po pwede yung paulit ulit itong ginagawa nila,” Parlade said citing a November 2020 report by Torres-Tupas. This article was based on a manifestation filed before the SC, informing the tribunal that two Aeta farmers are charged under the widely opposed law.

Torres-Tupas, in an article on Monday, explained that reporters covering the Judiciary beat usually quote from pleadings filed, as with the coverage of the ATA. “A journalist’s work is almost entirely paper-dependent—petitions, manifestations, interventions, affidavits, decisions, court orders and the list goes on,” she said.

Parlade had again slammed this earlier report saying it supposedly shows Torres-Tupas’ “established bias against the [Armed Forces of the Philippines].”

The military general repeated this in the interview, as he insisted: “I really don’t think that the basis of that news report is based on that specific document submitted to the SC. Ang basis niya dun ay yung kanyang old perception on this incident."

Parlade offered no proof of his assertion.

Parlade said he is willing to meet with the management of Inquirer.net and with Torres-Tupas.

Anti-terrorism law debates

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, author of the anti-terrorism law, said “something is very wrong with Lt. Gen. Parlade’s mindset.”

“On its face, his statement clearly implying that a journalist ‘was aiding the terrorists’ is careless and insensitive. I do not know how else any literate person can interpret that,” he added.

Petitioners against the Anti-Terrorism Act had called the Supreme Court’s attention to Parlade’s post which they deemed as a “threat of criminal prosecution” and a threat that engender fear to journalists and ordinary citizens.

Lacson, however, said his primary concern is on the anti-terrorism law that si currently being contested at the SC. “If Lt. Gen. Parlade wants to help enlighten the magistrates as he claims, he can do it better by not talking about terrorism,” the senator added.

Oral arguments of the 37 petitions challenging the ATA will resume on Tuesday afternoon.

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