Resolution seeking review of NTF-ELCAC's performance, expenditures filed in Senate

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2021 06:40 PM

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade speaks to the media at the Department of Justice building in Quezon City Hall on August 15, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Several senators on Monday filed a resolution seeking to look into the performance and expenditures of the government's anti-communism panel after the task force's spokespersons accused several community pantry organizers of being communist supporters.

The following senators signed Senate Resolution No. 707, which would review the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict:
- Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
- Sen. Nancy Binay
- Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian
- Sen. Grace Poe
- Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian

"We filed this resolution today to hold ELCAC accountable for its operations including the baseless red tagging of community pantries and certain individuals," Villanueva, the resolution's primary author, said in a statement.

"It is our responsibility as legislators to ensure that government programs do not harm the people we serve," he said.

The resolution was filed after NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade compared community pantry instigator Ana Patricia Non to Satan in a television interview.

Parlade drew more ire from the Senate after he called lawmakers "stupid" for saying the chamber could defund the anti-communism panel next year.

"There is a need to draw a line between legitimate government counter-insurgency strategies against internal armed conflicts and threats... and the silencing and crippling of innocent civilians with baseless and unsubstantiated claims," the resolution read.

The Senate should also review how the panel has been using its P19-billion budget this year, especially when the government is in need of more funds to address the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.

Congress is currently on a month-long break and cannot tackle the said resolution until it to resumes its sessions by mid-May.

Aside from lawmakers, Parlade has also received criticism from journalists, healthcare workers, and celebrities who he accused of being communist supporters without presenting sufficient proof.

In February, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Parlade is set to retire from service this year.

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