MANILA, Philippines — After drawing public scorn for falsely accusing three female celebrities, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., executive director of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), again made unsubstantiated accusations, this time against the country’s four top universities.
Top officials of Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, Far Eastern University and De La Salle University issued a rare joint statement on Sunday admonishing Parlade for tarnishing the reputations of the four schools.
“This charge, though, is really ‘getting old’—a rehash of the public accusation the general made in 2018—irresponsibly cast without proof,” said the statement that was issued after Parlade on Jan. 23 named 18 universities as recruitment centers for the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
He made a similar statement in October 2018, when he insisted that communist rebels were recruiting students in the same 18 schools into the NPA, to overthrow the Duterte administration and establish a dictatorship.
But university officials dismissed Parlade’s accusations as lies and said they were only safeguarding the constitutional and democratic rights of their students to free speech, thought, assembly and organization.
“As universities with high aspirations for our country, we seek to direct our students to engage in acts that contribute to the strengthening of social cohesion, defend the country’s democratic institutions, and promote nation-building,” the officials said.
“We therefore object to General Parlade’s statement and emphasize that our institutions neither promote nor condone recruitment activities of the [NPA] and, indeed, of any movement that aims to violently overthrow the government,” they added.
Aside from making unproven claims against the universities, Parlade was also severely criticized for linking celebrities Angel Locsin, Catriona Gray and Liza Soberano to the communist movement after they made remarks supporting women’s rights. INQ