Philippine anti-terrorism law

Lacson: Parlade’s tirade vs journalist hinders gov’t defense of anti-terror law

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Lacson: Parlade’s tirade vs journalist hinders gov’t defense of anti-terror law

PHILIPPINE SENATE. Senator Panfilo Lacson takes the floor during a Senate session.

Albert Calvelo / Senate PRIB

Senator Panfilo Lacson says that the actions of army general Antonio Parlade Jr 'threaten to divide,' rather than unite, efforts against terrorism
Lacson: Parlade’s tirade vs journalist hinders gov’t defense of anti-terror law

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday, February 5, castigated Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr for red-tagging a journalist, saying such action may compromise the government’s defense of the anti-terror law before the Supreme Court.

“Coming at a time when the Solicitor General is defending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 against 37 petitions, particularly on the issue involving ‘overbreadth doctrine’ among others, such remarks from a high-ranking military official is uncalled for and totally unnecessary,” said Lacson, one of the authors of the anti-terror law.

“There are basic freedoms that remain to be protected and upheld under RA 11479, foremost is the freedom of speech or expression. Accusing a journalist of ‘aiding the terrorists by spreading lies,’ assuming that such comment was accurately attributed to him, surely does not help the government to convince the magistrates of the Supreme Court to rule in its favor,” he added.

In Facebook posts, Parlade claimed that the report of reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas on the petition of jailed Aetas to intervene in the ongoing anti-terror law case in the Supreme Court case is “fake” and “propaganda.”

Parlade had claimed that Tupas can be held liable under the anti-terrorism law for “aiding terrorists by spreading lies.” Tupas merely reported the content of the petition filed before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 2, including the allegations of Aetas that members of the military tortured them for nearly a week.

Reporters covering the justice beat have slammed Parlade for endangering Tupas’ life, and said that Parlade’s threats against Tupas “are what petitioners claim as evidence of a credible threat of prosecution – threat that can warrant a judicial review of the law he seeks to protect and promote.”

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Parlade’s actions ‘threaten to divide’

Lacson said that Parlade’s controversial statements seemed to negate the efforts of security officials to address concerns related to the anti-terrorism law, which is being questioned before the High Court.

He cited the decision of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to agree to a dialogue with University of the Philippines president Danilo Concepcion on the UP-DND accord, which Lorenzana had unilaterally terminated.

Lacson said that Lorenzana “should be commended for taking a step backward in agreeing to open the lines for future discussions…in finding a common ground to resolve the issues involving the state’s security concerns and the UP alumni’s time-honored academic freedom.”

Parlade, however, “keeps opening new fronts for the defense establishment to address which could have been avoided but for his careless and insensitive remarks,” Lacson said.

“At a time unity is needed against threats such as terrorism, actions that threaten to divide are the last thing our country needs,” the senator added.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said Parlade’s latest gaffe is enough to get him axed, just like former Armed Forces intelligence chief Major General Alex Luna, who was relieved of his post last month following the publication of an error-riddled list of alleged communist rebels slain or captured by the military.

“Enough of this unprofessionalism and lack of discipline with such baseless, erroneous public statements. Like AFP Intel Chief Luna, Lorenzana should show Parlade the door,” Pangilinan said.

Parlade,  the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), has been criticized not only by activists and human rights groups but also legal luminaries like Antonio Carpio and Conchita Carpio-Morales for endangering the lives of innocent people by red-tagging them. –

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