Senate of the Philippines

Drilon to file resolution censuring Parlade over ‘stupid’ senators remark

Vernise Tantuco
Drilon to file resolution censuring Parlade over ‘stupid’ senators remark

NTF-ELCAC SPOKESPERSON. Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr addresses troops on March 5, 2020.

Photo from the Southern Luzon Command/FB

'Hindi dapat palampasin ito,' says Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon will file a resolution to censure National Task Force to End Local Communist Insurgency spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr for calling senators “stupid” for wanting to defund the NTF-ELCAC.

Drilon said in an interview with DWIZ on Saturday, April 24, that it’s alright for Parlade to disagree with the Senate but his language was “disrespectful and uncalled for.”

“Hindi naman kami stupid for calling for a realignment of their fund,” Drilon said. “Hindi kami stupid kung sasabihin naming na i-defund ang NTF-ELCAC. Kapangyarihan ng Kongreso ang mag-allocate ng pera sa ilalim ng Saligang Batas.”

(We’re not stupid for calling for a realignment of their fund. We’re not stupid if we say that we want to defund the NTF-ELCAC. It’s within the powers of Congress to allocate funds under the Constitution.)

Some senators had said they were considering the removal of the NTF-ELCAC’s multi-billion peso budget following its persistent red-tagging of community pantries. Parlade, in response, called them “stupid” in an interview.

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Drilon on Saturday also brought up the Senate defense committee’s recommendation to remove Parlade as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson. Article 16, Section 5 of the 1987 Constitution states that “No 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.”

“Sa aking tingin, talagang dapat ipakita ng Senado ang kanilang displeasure. Hindi dapat palampasin ito. Otherwise masasanay,” he said. (From my point of view, the Senate should really express their displeasure. We shouldn’t let this pass. Otherwise, he will get used to it.)

In another interview with DWIZ on Satuday, Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate defense committee, also brought up their recommendation to have Parlade removed as task force spokesperson. He added that Parlade’s remarks have been dragging the NTF-ELCAC into controversies that overshadow the task force’s achievements. 

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines must remain apolitical,” Lacson said. “Otherwise, the constitutional balance among institutions is skewed and democratic governance is disturbed and even threatened. Lieutenant General Parlade should just focus on ending insurgency and fighting terrorism. When he retires, he can debate all he wants on political issues.”

If Parlade remains as spokesperson, said Lacson, it would send a strong message to the defense establishment to deny the NTF-ELCAC a budget for 2022.

“There is a consensus among senators in the minority and majority, to send a message to the defense establishment that cooperation is a two-way street. They cannot just keep asking without giving back,” he said. – Rappler.com

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.