MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana belied the claims of retired military general and presidential aspirant Antonio Parlade Jr. that former aide and now Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has been controlling the decisions of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Parlade made the claim when he filed his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 elections as substitute of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino Party.
He is running against Go and several other presidential candidates.
The retired general claimed that Go was “among the country’s problems” and that it was common knowledge among officers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines that Go “controls” Duterte’s decisions.
But Lorenzana rejected his claims.
“Lt. Gen Parlade’s statement is baseless,” the defense chief said in a statement.
“In the years I have known the President, he has always been his own man. The President stands by his own decisions, has always been firm in his directives to us, who are working for him, and is not as easily swayed or influenced by others as purported by the general,” he added.
Parlade became controversial when he was still in active military service and serving as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for red-tagging some celebrities and other activists.
He resigned from the task force in June before retiring in July 2021 as commander of AFP Southern Luzon Command when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 56. He was appointed as deputy director general of the National Security Council in September.
He said he decided to file his candidacy as he “cannot align himself” with Go.
In defense of Go, Lorenzana said the senator has been the defense sector’s “main bridge” to Duterte.
“He has always been our main bridge to the President and I have not known any instance when SBG acted outside the wishes and decisions of the President,” he said.
Lorenzana disclosed that Go assisted the DND in ensuring the doubling of the salaries of the uniformed personnel as directed by the president when he was still serving as Special Assistant to the President.
“He has also been consistent in strongly supporting DND in all its programs and modernization efforts.
In all these endeavors, Bong Go’s support to the DND and AFP has not abated,” he said.
Lorenzana also denied Parlade’s claims that there was “brewing trouble or discontent in the AFP.”
“The AFP remains a professional organization that continues to work in the interest of the Filipino people, regardless of the prevailing political landscape,” he said.