Senators welcome Parlade’s resignation from gov’t anti-insurgency task force

Senators welcome Parlade's resignation from gov't anti-insurgency task force


MANILA, Philippines — At least two senators on Thursday welcomed the resignation of controversial Army Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), with one saying it would spare the military from “further embarrassment.”

Parlade, who has been embroiled in controversies involving so-called red-tagging, said he submitted his resignation letter to President Rodrigo Duterte “almost a month ago.”

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense committee, said Parlade already informed him about his resignation when the Army official paid the senator a courtesy visit a month ago.

“I thanked and commended him,” Lacson said in a statement.

“The Senate’s legal position on the issue is clear – that his appointment as an active military officer in a civilian position is clearly proscribed by the Constitution, and whatever legal discussion or debate on his official designation in a civilian office while still in the active military service has now become moot and academic. I am glad it has ended that way,” the senator also said.

READ: Parlade steps down as counter-insurgency task force spokesperson

In March, the upper chamber recommended Parlade’s removal from his position as NTF-Elcac mouthpiece.

The Senate cited Article 16, Section 5, Paragraph 4 of the Constitution which states that “no member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in active service shall at any time be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government.”

‘Anomalous’ designation

Senator Francis Pangilinan also welcomed Parlade’s move to quit the task force.

“His resignation is a welcome development,” Pangilinan said in a message to reporters as he cited the Senate’s position that Paralde’s designation in the NTF-Elcac was “irregular, anomalous and contrary to the Constitution.”

“It will also spare the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) as an institution further embarrassment and will send the signal that the AFP is a professional organization that upholds and respects the Constitution and the Rule of Law,” he added.

Parlade’s ‘passion’

Lacson, meanwhile, acknowledged Parlade’s “passion to do his role in ending the longest-running insurgency in Asia.”

“I still believe that the NTF-Elcac is a long-overdue solution to the ‘water lily’ tactical maneuvers being employed by the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army) to maintain their influence over previously cleared barangays,” he added.

“I too believe that without infrastructure, livelihood and social development interventions by the national government after all successful counter-insurgency operations by our security forces in clearing those barangays of the NPA presence, it can only result in a Sisyphus-like situation with no clear solution in sight,” the senator further said.

According to Parlade, his decision to quit as spokesperson of the task force was to “ease the pressure [on] the NTF-ELCAC principals who are being questioned by legislators for designating” him in the position.

Duterte has already accepted Parlade’s resignation, according to Malacañang.