Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade resigned as a spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The defense chief said that Parlade already resigned “more than two weeks ago.” Lorenzana did not confirm if Parlade was offered a different post in the government.
“Let’s wait until he retires and what are his plans,” the defense chief told Rappler.
Parlade said in a statement that he submitted his resignation to President Rodrigo Duterte in June.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday, July 1, that Duterte accepted Parlade’s resignation as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson.
He also clarified the reason for his resignation. “I want to ease the pressure on the NTF-ELCAC principals who are being questioned by legislators for designating me as spokesman despite my being in the active service. There are so many legal bases justifying my role in NTF-ELCAC as constitutional but I will not belabor myself with those,” Parlade said.
Major General Bartolome “Bob” Bacarro, Medal of Valor awardee, will be the new commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command (Solcom). Bacarro will assume command on July 26, the day of Parlade’s retirement from military service.
Parlade, who has been criticized for red-tagging personalities and progressive leaders, was recommended by the Senate to be removed from the government’s anti-insurgency task force earlier this year.
On March 10, the Senate adopted a committee report recommending the removal of Parlade due to “potential conflict between the policies of NTF-ELCAC and the mandate of the security sector by engaging a spokesperson who does not hold concurrent mandates in the security forces.”
Lacson: Glad ‘it ended this way’
Following the recommendation of Parlade’s removal, Lorenzana defended the military officer and said he might as well take out the entire military from the anti-insurgency task force if Parlade was removed.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former Philippine National Police chief, also lashed out at Parlade’s appointment and emphasized that the NTF-ELCAC is a civilian task force. Lacson argued that the appointment of a military officer to a civilian task force could be illegal.
On Thursday, Lacson said in a statement that Parlade had informed him about the resignation letter over a month ago, during a courtesy visit to him at the Senate.
He said that while “there is no question about his passion to do his role in ending the longest-running insurgency in Asia,” the Senate maintained its legal position on his job at NTF-ELCAC.
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,” Lacson said. – with a report from Pia Ranada/Rappler.com