MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) remains committed to the Constitution, despite some sectors expressing calls for the establishment of a revolutionary government, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday night.
“We at the Department of Defense denounce the attempt by (retired) Lt. Gen. (Antonio) Parlade to involve the Department, especially the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), in airing his personal grievances and his call for a revolutionary government,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters.
As citizens of a democratic country, he said, all Filipinos are entitled to freedom of expression but this should be done through proper grievance mechanisms.
“The DND shall continue to adhere to Constitutional authority, fully respecting the mandates of our democratic institutions. We remain committed to doing our solemn duty to the nation,” Lorenzana said.
He said he has directed all AFP personnel to remain apolitical and neutral.
“The Constitution forbids any active military personnel from engaging in partisan politics or supporting any candidates. We will ensure that this is followed and enforced,” Lorenzana added.
Earlier, Parlade said they are not saying that a revolutionary government is the solution to the country’s problems, especially with the alleged corruption in the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“We are not saying that’s the solution, revolutionary government. We are not saying that that’s the solution. We are just informing the people that this is our situation now. It’s up to you. Tingnan nyo kung anong solusyon na dapat (Try to find a proper solution for this). If it’s revgov (revolutionary government) and you say so, so be it,” he said.
Parlade and an estimated 100 supporters organized a dialogue at the People Power Monument in Quezon City on Tuesday morning to decry the alleged corruption in the poll body.
Parlade is the former chief of the Southern Luzon Command and served as one of the spokespersons of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
On Nov. 13, 2021, he substituted for Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP) presidential aspirant and former education undersecretary Antonio Valdez.
However, under the rules of the Comelec, independent aspirants are not allowed to be substituted.
His name was eventually dropped from the final list of candidates for the position of president in the 2022 polls.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also echoed the DND’s remarks, saying calls for a revolutionary government are reckless and careless amid the forthcoming elections.
“While we respect Parlade’s right to free speech, we urge him — as a former military general who has sworn to uphold the Constitution — to respect duly constituted authorities, be more responsible and circumspect in airing his personal remarks, and to seek the proper legal mechanisms to address his concerns,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement.
He added that the DILG and its attached agencies, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), remain committed and loyal to the Constitution, the chain of command, and will carry out their mandate to ensure peaceful and orderly communities during the election period.
“We also urge all local government units (LGUs) to dismiss Parlade’s statement and stay the course of delivering public service that addresses the needs of your jurisdiction even in the middle of a highly political climate,” he added. (with Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)