15 senators want Parlade censured over ‘stupid’ remark
MANILA, Philippines — Fifteen senators on Tuesday filed a resolution calling to censure Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. over his “derogatory” and “demeaning” remarks against some members of the Senate.
“[I]nstead of engaging in a constructive debate, Lt. Gen. Parlade has chosen to demean and disparage the Senators, through statements that display his limited grasp of Congress’ role in the budget process and show his lack of respect not just for the Senators as duly-elected representatives of the people but also for the Senate as an institution,” Senate Resolution No. 709 read.
The resolution states that Parlade should be censured “for his disrespectful, derogatory and demeaning statements against members of the Senate following their criticism of his persistent red-tagging of civilians.”
The resolution was triggered by Parlade’s “stupid” remark against senators who broached the idea of defunding the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Parlade is NTF-ELCAC spokesperson who also spoke out against some organizers of community pantries.
“[Parlade], in a series of statements, has publicly tagged personalities, party list groups, universities, colleges, and members of the academe as communists without the benefit of trial, bereft of proof or evidence,” the resolution read.
The NTF-ELCAC was earlier criticized for sharing social media posts saying that community pantries are being used for propaganda of communist groups.
“Contrary to the assertions of Lt. Gen. Parlade, progressive thinking is not communism and expression of opinions or criticisms and purposeful involvement in humanitarian community efforts do not constitute rebellion, sedition, or terrorism,” the senators said.
“If Parlade’s pronouncements and profiling of community pantry organizers were done pursuant to NTF-ELCAC’s policy direction, then the agency has clearly departed from its mandate and members of the Senate have basis to realign its funds to more worthy causes that would make better use of taxpayers’ money, such as providing much-needed aid to people suffering from the effects of the pandemic,” they added.
Parlade, meanwhile, had said the task force is “just checking” the background of those behind the highly popular community pantries to make sure that organizers do not have any other agenda.
The resolution, on the other hand, stressed that Congress has oversight functions over the utilization of the budget it approved to ensure that funds are “judiciously and efficiently spent for the appropriated purpose.”
It noted that the NTF-ELCAC budget for 2021 was approved by Congress on the premise that it would be used to “fund the delivery of basic services…to 822 barangay which have been cleared for insurgency.”
Aside from Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who led the filing of the resolution, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Sherwin Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel IV, and Joel Villanueva signed the resolution.
The resolution also questioned Parlade’s continued stay as NTF-ELCAC’s spokesperson despite the chamber’s recommendation that he be “immediately relieved of his duties as spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC.”
Article 16, Section 5(4) of the 1987 Constitution provides that “[n]o member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries, according to Drilon, a former justice secretary.