LIEUTENANT General Antonio Parlade Jr. on Thursday, March 11, 2021, brushed off calls for his resignation as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
Parlade said the decision to remove him from this post is not his to make but that of the executive branch.
He was reacting to the recommendation of the Senate national defense panel that he should resign because an active military officer could not hold a concurrent civilian post.
Parlade is also the commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command.
“Of course (I will stay). In fact, the vice chair NTF-Elcac Sec (Secretary Esperon just called to say he has issue[d] official orders for me to remain as spox (spokesperson) effective] 1 January 2021," Parlade said in a text message to reporters.
In the Senate committee report which was approved on Wednesday, March 10, the national defense committee said the red-tagging being done by Parlade has put the government's campaign against insurgency as well as the controversial anti-terror law in bad light.
In a televised press briefing, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he does not see the appointment of Parlade to the NTF-Elcac as unconstitutional.
Lorenzana pointed out that Parlade was appointed to the post due to his "expertise."
The report of the Senate committee chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson states that Parlade's appointment was in violation of Article XVI, Section 5, Paragraph 4 of the 1987 Constitution, which mandates that no active member of the military may be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government.
Lacson said NTF-Elcac is a civilian body.
"We should prevent the potential conflict between the policies of NTF-Elcac and the mandate of the security sector by engaging a spokesperson who does not hold the concurrent mandates in the security forces. This should be a pre-requisite for a spokesperson in the faithful performance of his official duty," the committee said.
Parlade has been in hot water for red-tagging journalists, celebrities and other prominent individuals. (SunStar Philippines)