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Parlade resigns as NTF-ELCAC spox to ‘ease pressure’ on body

Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines (Update 3, 2:21 p.m.) — The controversial Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade has resigned as spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial anti-communist task force to “ease pressure” on the body which has been questioned by lawmakers on the legality of the Southern Luzon commander’s appointment as one of its mouthpieces.

“I want to ease the pressure to the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict) principals who are being questioned by legislators for designating me inspite my being in the active service,” Parlade said in a statement.

Parlade insisted that his appointment is constitutional, contrary to the claim of the Senate, which said last March in a report calling for his removal as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson that his appointment violates Section 5, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution.

That provision in the Constitution states that "no member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government."

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said he is glad that the disagreement between the Senate and the NTF-ELCAC on Paralde’s appointment ended in his resignation.

“Whatever legal discussion or debate on his official designation in a civilian office while still in the active military service has now become moot and academic,” Lacson said.

But for Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna), it is not enough that Parlade resigns from his position.

"As spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, Parlade used and abused his position to attack government critics, spread fake news, and red-tag activists and organizations, he should be held accountable for this," Gaite said.

Parlade said he submitted his resignation letter to Duterte “almost a month ago.” Malacañang confirmed that the president has approved his resignation.

The military official vowed that he will continue his fight against communist rebels in “whatever legal way.”

“I want to assure our critics that I am not running away from this fight,” he said.

Parlade courted controversy while he was the NTF-ELCAC’s spokesperson, having baselessly accused various personalities, including leftist lawmakers and celebrities, as being part of the armed communist rebellion.

The practice, known as red-tagging, has been criticized by human rights groups, who have warned that it can expose those tagged as communist rebels to physical harm and even death. — Xave Gregorio with a report from Franco Luna and Bella Perez-Rubio

vuukle comment

ANTONIO PARLADE JR.

NTF-ELCAC

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