CONTROVERSIAL Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. should be more cautious about his statements falsely accusing Liza Soberano and other celebrities for their civic-minded advocacies, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Wednesday.
At the hearing of the Senate Committee on National Defense on the alleged red-tagging activities of the military, Pangilinan said such erroneous accusations exposes the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to unnecessary controversy.
“We have to be very careful. The AFP is an institution and a professional organization. We have to be very careful of the words we pronounce,” the senator said.
Pangilinan also thanked Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense (DND) for admonishing Parlade for the recent “red tagging” of the opposition.
The senator stressed that the red-tagging of several House members and celebrities such as Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin and former Miss Universe Catriona Gray has been severe enough for Lorenzana to reprimand Parlade.
Pangilinan said Parlade’s words as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) carry a lot of weight so restraint should always be observed at all times.
The senator recalled that it was Parlade who accused the Liberal Party of conspiring with the Communist Party of the Philippines to topple the current administration in the so-called “Red October” plot in 2018.
However, when the opposition raised this issue with the DND and the AFP during the 2018 budget hearing, the two agencies categorically denied the existence of the said plot and cleared LP of any involvement in the non-existent ouster plan.
“Linking the Liberal Party to ouster plots, publicly stated opposition figures and the Liberal Party, we believe then was without basis and uncalled for. Thankfully, the AFP and the DND establishment is not a monolithic organization,” Pangilinan said.
“This was immediately denied and categorical statements from the AFP chief of staff Carlito Galvez then and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana belied such accusations,” he added.
Pangilinan also recalled that during the Marcos dictatorship, the late LP secretary general Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and his alleged assassin Rolando Galman were both red-tagged.
Earlier during the hearing, the senator expressed concern over the security sector’s “sweeping generalization” against student activists when it presented a video flashing images of slain young activists allegedly recruited by communist rebels.
“I’m very concerned about some of the video materials presented particularly the matter of students activists…It may be true to a certain extent, student activists ended up being killed because they have become the NPA or part of the NPA,” Pangilinan said, referring to the New People’s Army.
“That may be partly true but that is not the whole truth. The simplistic, sweeping generalization, I feel, is presenting half-truths up to a certain extent,” he added.
Pangilinan said this as he pointed out that he and fellow opposition lawmaker, Senator Risa Hontiveros, were both student activists during the Marcos regime.
“Senator Risa Hontiveros and myself, we were both student activists, we were both student leaders during the Marcos regime…We are in the Senate now,” he added.