MANILA - Majority of senators have signed a resolution denouncing Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, the spokesman of the country's anti-insurgency task force, who earlier called senators "stupid" for threatening to defund his agency next year.
"I have been almost 24 years at the Senate. This is the first time I hear of a member of the armed forces who called the senators stupid," Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon told ANC Tuesday.
Drilon said he would file the resolution Tuesday.
"It is a certainty that Gen. Parlade will be censured by the Senate for this kind of a conduct when we come back on May 17," he said.
Among the senators who backed Drilon's resolution against Parlade are:
- Senate President Vicente Sotto III
- Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto
- Sen. Nancy Binay
- Sen. Leila de Lima
- Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian
- Sen. Richard Gordon
- Sen. Risa Hontiveros
- Sen. Panfilo Lacson
- Sen. Lito Lapid
- Sen. Francis Pangilinan
- Sen. Grace Poe
- Sen. Joel Villanueva
- Sen. Koko Pimentel
- Sen. Pia Cayetano
In a press briefing Monday, Drilon said, "It's not a matter of appeasing the Senate. It's a matter of upholding the dignity of the Senate."
"His statements are very disrespectful, derogatory against Senate. We do not deserve that kind of language calling us stupid," he added.
The Senate Minority Leader underscored that Parlade's appointment as the NTF-ELCAC's spokesperson was also a violation of the constitution.
Under the law, military officials who are still in active service are not allowed to occupy positions in the executive branch as the Constitution upholds the "civilian supremacy within the government," Drilon told ANC.
In March, the Senate also adopted a committee report calling for Parlade's removal as spokesman of the task force.
"The official act of the Senate has been ignored. It would appear that he's indeed untouchable," the senator said.
Parlade is also the chief of the military's Southern Luzon Command.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon earlier said that the spokespersons of the anti-communist insurgency council have been ordered to stop making remarks on community pantries, but Parlade said no such order was issued.
"No gag order. Just gave an interview a while ago," Parlade told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
Several senators earlier pushed to give the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) either a zero budget or reduced its funding next year after Parlade accused some community pantry organizers of being communist supporters.
Last year, Drilon pushed for the realignment of the anti-communism panel's P19-billion budget to fund COVID-19 programs, but was outvoted in plenary.