New AFP chief on Parlade probe after remarks vs journo: We give due process
MANILA, Philippines — Due process will be observed in relation to the military’s investigation on the controversial remarks made by Army Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. against an INQUIRER.net reporter, newly-designated Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said Tuesday.
“We want it to be deliberate, we give due process,” Sobejana said during the Laging Handa briefing when asked what the leadership plans to do with Parlade.
According to Sobejana, he has ordered the military to coordinate with the Strategic Communication Committee of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to know if the panel gave Parlade the “blessing” to make such comments.
Parlade serves as the spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC.
“General Parlade is the designated spokesperson. Hindi natin malalaman kung itong mga sinabi ba ni General Parlade ay may blessing ng strategic committee ng naturang task force,” Sobejana said.
On Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he would order the military to investigate possible “mistakes” committed by Parlade in relation to his remarks against INQUIRER.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas.
Lorenzana said that Parlade might have “overstepped” his boundaries.
“Maybe he overstepped what he was doing. I’m going to let the chief of staff deal with him,” Lorenzana said in a television interview on Monday.
“They should talk first how to address this concern from a journalist and the media about these accusations by General Parlade,” Lorenzana added.
In a post on his Facebook page, Parlade branded INQUIRER.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas’ story on a petition filed by two alleged communist rebels against the Anti-Terror Law as “fake” and “propaganda.”
“Congratulations for a sloppy work Tetch Torres-Tupaz (sic) of Inquirer.net. You did not even bother to check the side of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and gov’t if what you are reporting is true or FAKE. Propagandista. No such thing happened. That unit is not even there but in Davao,” Parlade said in his post.
Responding to a question from a netizen on his post whether charges could be filed against Tupas, he replied: “Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? Puede (Possible).”
However, INQUIRER.net stood by Tupas’ report and slammed Parlade’s apparent red-tagging.
“INQUIRER.net takes vigorous exception to the apparent red-tagging of our reporter and expresses alarm over Parlade’s attempt to sow fear, stifle dissent and curtail her right to make truthful and objective reports. We unequivocally support our reporter and uphold her integrity,” the media outlet said.
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