Tension rises in progressives’ forum as Parlade gate-crashes

Lian Buan

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Tension rises in progressives’ forum as Parlade gate-crashes
Major General Antonio Parlade is booed out of the Quezon City Sports Club

Tensions rose at an event of progressive groups on Wednesday, November 27, when Major General Antonio Parlade – who is leading the military’s campaign against communism – attended the forum and was booed out as a result.

Progressive groups Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) and National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) held a forum titled, “Weaponizing the Law, Criminalizing Dissent” at the Quezon City Sports Club Wednesday afternoon to discuss the legal assaults on activists and opposition members in the Duterte administration.

Parlade attended the event. The NUPL, as well as rights group Karapatan, have filed petitions for writs of Amparo against Parlade and the military as a whole for red-tagging and harassment.  (READ: Amid crackdown, activists lose another bid for extraordinary legal remedy)

At the open forum segment of the event, Parlade raised his hand in an apparent attempt to speak but was told by a host that “this is a venue for victims of the anti-people policies of Duterte.”

Another host said: Kung mamarapatin po ay ‘yung natitirang time ay gamitin natin sa iba pang gustong mag-raise ng legitimate questions. (If we can please give the remaining time to those who want to raise legitimate questions.)

However, activist Mae “Juana Change” Paner acknowledged Parlade and asked him: General, ano po ba ang masasabi ninyo sa mga narinig niyo sa nagsalita ngayon? (General, what can you say to those who spoke here in this event?)

Parlade quickly went in front of the room to speak, but he was stopped by Carol Araullo of the group Bayan.

“Excuse me General Parlade, and I’m sorry Mae, this is a forum organized by the Movement Against Tyranny, General Parlade has every platform that he can get, including mass media, to spill his lies, mga pambabaluktot (his spin), he’s not welcome,” said Araullo.

Araullo also asked why there were “many policemen” outside the venue.

“If you would be so kind, act like a gentleman, and please step out of this hall,” Araullo said.

Parlade appeared to be talking to Araullo as he was being led out of the room, as the audience chanted, Makibaka, Huwag Matakot.” (Fight, fear not.)

On his way out, he left a folder.

Parlade later revealed the documents he called “5 taong programa ng Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army.”

By the door, Araullo told him once more: “Please go out, you are not welcome here.”


Parlade’s response

In a series of tweets, Parlade said “he came in good faith to share our side and answer queries.”

Parlade criticized Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer in the sedition case, Marlon Manuel, for violating sub-judice.

“They discussed earlier the ‘red tagging’ and arrest of dissenters, that is why I brought with me the CPP document that says it all,” said Parlade, adding that “ironically they were all afraid.”

Parlade called the organizers “CPP stooges.”

NUPL and International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) president Edre Olalia said Parlade’s attendance “is akin to a serial rapist or serial murderer who barges cockily into a meeting of victims and their kin.”

“It is premeditated taunting and evident provocation. At long last, have you left no sense of decency, sir?” said Olalia. – Rappler.com

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.