By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday blasted Southern Luzon Command chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for his very wrong mindset on the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) after he accused a journalist for aiding the terrorists.
In a statement, Lacson, primary sponsor and author of the ATA, said that there is something very wrong with Parlade’s mindset.
“On its face, his statement clearly implying that a journalist “was aiding the terrorists” is careless and insensitive. I do not know how else any literate person can interpret that,” Lacson said.
In a post on his Facebook page, Parlade accused Tech Torres-Tupas’ story on a petition filed by two alleged communist rebels against the Anti-Terror Law as “fake” and “propaganda.”
The controversial AFP official said that her story was obtained from the US-based Human Rights Watch and media group Kodao, which he both tagged as “propaganda machines” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
“Congratulations for a sloppy work Tetch Torres-Tupaz (sic) of Inquirer.net. You did not even bother to check the side of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and gov’t if what you are reporting is true or FAKE. Propagandista. No such thing happened. That unit is not even there but in Davao,” Parlade said in his post.
But, Lacson said that he couldn’t care less what else comes out of his mouth, nor do he has anything to do with his quarrel with Ms. Tetch Torres-Tupas.
“My primary concern is the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 which I and my staff, as well as my fellow senators worked extra hard to afford the state an effective legal tool against terrorism while ensuring that the Bill of Rights is protected, especially that the law is now facing some serious challenges before the Supreme Court,” Lacson explained.
“If Lt. Gen. Parlade wants to help enlighten the magistrates as he claims, he can do it better by not talking about terrorism,” he added.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) chief Lt. General Cirlito Sobejana distanced the military from Parlade’s statement against the journalist.
According to Sobejana, the statement was made by Parlade against Torres-Tupas as the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communista Armed Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC).
He said that Parlade is not the spokesperson of the AFP, but Major General Edgard Arevalo.
“If Major General Arevalo made that statement, I can correct him especially if there is not concrete basis for the statement,” Sobejana said who was appointed as AFP chief last Thursday replacing General Gilbert Gapay who retired.
“Please allow us to do internal processes and we will inform you accordingly of the results of our efforts,” Sobejana answered on the question if they will investigate Parlade on the matter.
Also earlier, the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Justice and Court Reporters Association of which Torres-Tupas is a member, denounced Parlade’s “sweeping remarks.” (AI/MTVN)