Decision on removal of Parlade as spox up to NTF-ELCAC – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2021   •   471

MANILA, Philippines – The decision on whether or not to fire Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. as a spokesperson of the government’s anti-insurgency task force would be up to the agency and not President Rodrigo Duterte, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque issued the statement when asked to comment on the call of Senator Panfilo Lacson to remove Parlade as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) over his statements involving a community pantry organizer.

“Hindi naman po nagma-micro manage ang ating Presidente. Bahalo na po ang NTF-ELCAC kung susundin nila o hindi ang rekomendasyon in Senator Lacson,” Roque said in a press briefing.

Lacson earlier cited Article XVI, Section 5, Paragraph 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which bars an active member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian post in the government.

The senator also said that prohibiting Parlade from issuing statements on the community pantry issue is “not the appropriate response” and that the AFP and the Department of National Defense should heed the Senate’s recommendation to recall Parlade back to the military.

“He should be censured for dabbling in politics instead of just focusing on his inherent mission as commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command – that is, to fight threats such as terrorism and insurgency,” Lacson said.

Several lawmakers have sought for Parlade’s removal from the NTF-ELCAC, and even proposed defunding the task force, over his remarks against the organizer of Maginhawa community pantry.

Parlade earlier said that they are not profiling community pantry organizers but they are checking their background.

Parlade has apologized for calling some senators who want to defund the task force “stupid” and that he is willing to reach out to senators to discuss issues against NTF-ELCAC.

This is not the first time that senators pushed for Parlade’s removal as NTF-ELCAC’s spokesperson over alleged violations of the Constitution in terms of his designation to the task force.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana maintained that there is nothing wrong with Parlade’s role in the NTF-ELCAC as it was created through an executive order that tasked the military and police to lead the task force, with other agencies providing support, in defeating the security threat posed by the local communist terrorist groups and their allies.

President Rodrigo Duterte created the NTF-ELCAC in 2018 under Executive Order 70 in an effort to mobilize the entire bureaucracy and its resources and networks to crush the communist rebellion in the country.

The task force, placed under the Office of the President, is chaired by Duterte himself with National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. as vice chair.

Duterte appoints Antonio Parlade to Nat’l Security Council

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed retired military general Antonio Parlade as deputy director general of the National Security Council (NSC), Malacañang said Thursday.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that the president signed Parlade’s appointment on Sept. 8.

Parlade retired as head of the military’s Southern Luzon Command in July.

“Deputy Director-General Parlade faithfully served the Armed Forces of the Philippines for many years until his retirement from the service,” Roque said.

“We are therefore confident that his length of fruitful service in the military would immensely contribute in the crafting of plans and policies affecting national security,” he added.

Parlade previously served as spokesperson for the government’s Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict.

He became controversial for his remarks linking some organizers of community pantries to the communist group. Some senators even called for his resignation and proposed defunding the task force over the issue.

In a separate statement, Parlade thanked Duterte for the “renewed trust and confidence.”

“Another opportunity to continue serving our people in a different capacity. Time to take care of unfinished business,” he said.

Esperon hopes petition to Comelec vs. partylist groups resolved before 2022 polls

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. hopes that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will resolve the two separate petitions filed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) before the 2022 National Elections.

“Since there will be a registration of parties for the coming elections, we certainly pray and are confident that the COMELEC will resolve these petitions,” Esperon said.

The NTF-ELCAC believes the two petitions they filed before Comelec is a national security issue that needs to be resolved immediately.

The government task force filed separate petitions against Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan Partylist groups for the cancellation of their registration in the partylist system for violating the election law and the Constitution.

According to NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Atty. Marlon Bosantog who filed the petitions, they have evidence that Kabataan Partylist is linked to CPP-NPA-NDF.

“We have a witness from the time it was created, to its constitution, to its purpose. We have witnesses that testify the recruitment of the Kabataan Partylist as a funnel of NPA fighters,” Bosantog said.

“We have testimonies to show that the current sitting representative of Kabataan Partylist personally recruited and inform them to go to the mountains and bear arms against the government,” he added.

On August 12, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon testified before Comelec 2nd Division via teleconference regarding the task force’s petition against Gabriela Partylist.

NTF-ELCAC said Gabriela is receiving financial assistance from a foreign government and from non-government organizations which violates the Constitution and Comelec rules.

“And upon further verification by AMLC, we found out that Gabriela has been receiving funds from the Belgian government as well as Belgian NGO as well as other NGO’s in Europe,” Esperon said.

However, Gabriela Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas refuted the allegations, accusing the ELCAC of spreading lies.

“Puro mga kasinungalingan. Kung anu-anong claims po ang mga sinasabi sa atin diyan sa pagkakaso sa atin sa COMELEC dahil ang gusto talaga ay hindi tayo makatakbo,” Brosas said.

Kabataan partylist group, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the issue. —/mbmf (with details from UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Parlade retires from military service; Bacarro assumes post as new SOLCOM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   July 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) commander Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. has formally retired from the military service, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday.

A joint change of command and retirement ceremony, presided by AFP chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana, was held on Sunday, July 25, at the SOLCOM Headquarters in Camp Nakar, Quezon Province.

In a statement, Sobejana cited Parlade’s contributions, including his campaign to eradicate the operations of communist terrorist groups in Southern Luzon.

“Southern Luzon Command, under Lt.Gen. Parlade, certainly ensured that the people of Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region are free from the influence of the enemies of the state, who continuously resort to violence, intimidation, and deception in pursuing their crooked interests and vile goals,” Sobejana said.

“As Commander of SOLCOM, Lt.Gen. Parlade pursued the effective and timely implementation of Campaign Plans that aim to finally neutralize or destroy the remaining communist terrorist groups (CTGs) operating in Southern Luzon,” he added.

“Working hand-in-hand with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, SOLCOM was able to address insurgency in the region through combat operations and by addressing the root causes of insurgency.”

The AFP also said that Parlade led the Command in implementing stakeholder engagements and community support programs to identify and address issues that the CTGs exploit for their propaganda.

He also led SOLCOM in the activation of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Task Groups, in close coordination with Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils, which enabled the Command to promptly respond to any eventualities, especially during the recent eruptions of Taal volcano.

“Indeed, SOLCOM, under the leadership of Lt.Gen. Parlade, is always ready to safeguard the people of Southern Luzon from whatever danger or unwanted circumstances that threaten the security environment in the area of operations,” Sobejana said.

Parlade is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang” Class of 1987.

The AFP said Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division commander Major General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro will replace Parlade as the new SOLCOM chief.

Bacarro is a member of the PMA “Maringal” Class of 1988.

He previously served as the Commandant of the PMA Cadet Corps and as Internal Auditor of the AFP, Chief of Staff of 4th Infantry Division, Commander of 502nd Infantry Brigade, and also the Head of the AFP-ELCAC.

He is also a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff Course in Kansas, USA.

Bacarro was awarded the Medal of Valor “for acts of conspicuous courage, gallantry, and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” during an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Isabela in 1991.

“Major General Bacarro’s bravery and gallantry are beyond reproach. He is a leader who never leaves his men behind in the direst of situations,” Sobejana said.

“I expect that he will usher in more accomplishments and milestones not only for this command but also for the whole of Southern Luzon,” he added.

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