MANILA — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday countered the Senate's call for the removal of a military general from an anti-insurgency task force over alleged violations of the 1987 Constitution.
This, after the Senate on Wednesday recommended the immediate removal of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The military official has been controversial for red tagging celebrities, lawmakers and other personalities without basis.
Lorenzana said the NTF-ELCAC was created through an executive order that tasked the military to lead the task force and other government agencies to provide "support."
“General Parlade is part of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). His expertise is being utilized as a spokesman of the NTF-ELCAC,” he said in a televised public briefing.
“Wala akong nakikitang violation of the constitution,” he added.
(I don't see any violation of the constitution.)
Sen. Panfilo Lacson had said Parlade's appointment stint in the task force infringes on a constitutional ban on members of the Armed Forces from occupying a civilian post.
Parlade is currently commander of the military's Southern Luzon Command.
The continuation of Parlade's stint at the NTF is up to the Defense chief, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
“Hinahayaan na po natin ang desisyon kay Secretary Lorenzana,” he said in a press briefing.
(We leave that decision to Secretary Lorenzana.)
Since coming to power in 2016, Duterte has seen his efforts to forge peace with Maoist rebels derailed repeatedly, prompting frequent outbursts and threats to wipe them out.
Last Friday, Duterte told security forces they could kill rebels if they were holding a gun, and to "ignore human rights."
Two days later, 9 activists tagged as rebels were killed in police raids in Calabarzon.
Video courtesy of PTV