Gordon, Parlade in war of words over red-tagging, NTF-ELCAC funds | Inquirer News
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Gordon, Parlade in war of words over red-tagging, NTF-ELCAC funds

/ 02:47 PM April 22, 2021
gordon parlade

Senator Richard Gordon and Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon on Thursday said National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. should just “go back to the military” instead of “harassing our people with red-tagging accusations,” but the latter was quick to deny the remarks.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Gordon slammed Parlade over red-tagging issues, particularly against organizers of community pantries that sprouted to help those affected by the lockdowns.

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“Helping our people is natural to us and there are plenty of other things we can focus on. Gen. Parlade should go back to the military instead of concentrating on harassing our people with red-tagging accusations,” Gordon said.

Gordon, like several other senators, questioned how the NTF-ELCAC is spending its budget.

“Ang laki ng budget sa intelligence fund, pero saan ginagamit? Sa pagred-tag ng mga tumutulong sa tao? Kung may agenda ang organizers ng community pantries, tutumba ba ang gobyerno dahil nagbibigay sila? O napapahiya ang gobyerno dahil kulang ang ginagawa nila?” Gordon said.

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“What Gen Parlade is doing is a violation of freedom of expression, freedom of the people to express themselves, and the right of the people to redress from grievances. It’s imbecilic, stupid, and shameful. Para silang China na nanunulak ng maliliit,” the senator added.

‘I never left the military’

Parlade, however, dismissed Gordon’s remarks, saying that “he never left” the military.

“I never left the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), Mr. Senator. I work for NTF-ELCAC also for free. I don’t get a single cent for doing this,” Parlade said in a text message to INQUIRER.net.

Parlade likewise said that he was the “wrong tree to bark on” as at the start of the NTF-ELCAC, he already asked the task force to look for a civilian replacement “who can do the job better.”

Parlade said his designation as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson was instead renewed.

Moreover, Parlade also denied having red-tagged or harassed people, and instead pointed his fingers at “twisted and slanted” media reports.

“Chill ka lang kung wala kang ginagawang masama. Continue food sharing and we will even support you. Tell your staff to research well because they are paid a hefty sum, then ask them for accurate news,” Parlade said.

“My intelligence is free. It comes from peace-loving and well-meaning netizens who alert us of suspicious activities in their communities. That’s how I came to know about these individuals doing something else other than sharing food,” he added.

‘Freedom of expression, dissent allowed’

Parlade likewise insisted that contrary to Gordon’s claims, there is still freedom of expression and dissent.

“Sino po nagsabi na ipinagbabawal ito? Baka ang media lang naman,” Parlade said.

“Last time I checked, the Freedom Park in SOLCOM (AFP Southern Luzon Command) is still there so we can hear all those who want to shout of anything, express their grievances to the AFP and the government. We protect them, senator,” Parlade said.

He added: “But try shouting ‘sumali sa NPA’ and I will lock you up. We understand and support people’s rights, so what’s our problem here?”

Ana Patricia Non earlier temporarily stopped the operations of the Maginhawa community pantry over “red-tagging” on social media. Non is the organizer of the said initiative in the area.

One of the screenshots included in Non’s Facebook post showed posts shared by the NTF-ELCAC on how communist groups allegedly use community pantries for propaganda.

Despite this, Parlade said the task force has nothing to do with red-tagging community pantries and its organizers, adding that they are just “checking” the situation of community pantries to make sure that organizers do not have any other agenda.

/MUF/abc
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TAGS: NTF-ELCAC, Parlade, red-tagging, Richard Gordon
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