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Carpio asks SC: Compel gov't to explain Parlade’s threats vs journalist

Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio has filed a manifestation before the Supreme Court to require Solicitor General Jose Calida to explain Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr’s online posts attacking journalists.

“Such direct threats engender fear that chills journalists or even citizens from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” Carpio said in his 4-page manifestation filed on Friday, February 5,

On Thursday, February 4, Parlade said on his social media account that Inquirer.net journalist Tetch Torres-Tupas may be charged for “aiding the terrorists by spreading lies'' for a “fake” story she wrote on Tuesday, February 2. Tupas’s story detailed the account of torture of two aetas jailed under the contentious anti-terrorism law.

Aiding a terrorist under the anti-terrorism law is punishable with imprisonment from 12 years to life. (WATCH: The dangers of the Anti-Terrorism Law)

In separate posts, Parlade also alleged that Tupas’ sources were “all propaganda machines” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). He threatened both Tupas and Inquirer.net, saying he would not back down until he receives an answer from them.

“These posts are clear threats against Ms Tupas and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, both members of the free press protected by Section 4 of the Bill of Rights. They threaten criminal prosecution for a crime punishable of up to life imprisonment against Ms Tupas or any journalist who publishes any news article that may be perceived as ‘fake’ or ‘false’ by the military,” Carpio and his group said.

“Moreover, the threats’ obvious invasion of protected expressive rights is possible only because the language of the ATA is vague and over broad, casting a wide net of possibilities,”  they added in their manifestation.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, one of the authors of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020 which is being questioned before the High Court, had earlier castigated Parlade for red-tagging Tupas, saying his actions may compromise the government’s defense of the anti-terror law before the Court.

Parlade is the commanding general of the military's Southern Luzon Command and spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

On January 22, Carpio and retired SC justice and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales also filed a motion to compel Calida to explain a separate social media post of Parlade slamming the petitioners against the anti-terror law. – Rappler.com

Pauline Macaraeg

Pauline Macaraeg is part of the Rappler Research Team’s fact-checking unit. Aside from debunking dubious claims, she also enjoys crunching data and writing stories about the economy, environment, and media democracy.

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