However, Lorenzana said he cautioned Parlade from red-tagging anybody without evidence
MANILA (UPDATE) — A military official denied Sunday that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had asked him to stop issuing statements about alleged communists in the country and said he would continue to do so.
Lorenzana earlier said he would meet with Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), to address red-tagging "brouhaha."
"Linawin ko. Ito ang sinabi ni Sec. Lorenzana - 'twisted na naman' ang kaniyang mga statement... Sabi niya (He said), continue what you're doing as long as we have evidence. 'Push on,' 'press on' that’s his term," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(This is what Secretary Lorenzana said, his remarks were once again twisted.)
"Hindi ko 'to opinion... This is the NTF-ELCAC position on these issues. Nagkataon lang, ako yung nagsasalita sa ngayon. I'm just one of the spokespersons... This is beyond me. Ang ating chairman dito ay si Presidente. Titigil ba ko sa ginagawa ko? Of course not."
(This is not my opinion. This is the NTF-ELCAC position on these issues. It just so happens I'm the one speaking right now. I'm just one of the spokespersons. This is beyond me. Our chairman is the President. Will I stop what I'm doing? Of course not."
In an interview the same day, Lorenzana confirmed that he wanted Parlade to "continue what he is doing" but warned him to only do so with corresponding evidence.
"I cautioned him from red-tagging anybody without evidence. Associating with Gabriela, per se, does not mean a person advocates and supports its ideology," Lorenzana said.
"I directed Gen. Parlade to continue what he is doing with some caveats, so as not to unnecessarily include or accuse innocent people who are well meaning and want to do good things for others," he added.
Earlier, on Friday, Lorenzana told reporters, "Although ELCAC is a very good idea, pero kung minsan, e hindi mo naman puwedeng, lahat na, ‘yong shotgun kang ganun na everybody. So be selective and dapat may ebidensya tayo."
(Although ELCAC is a very good idea, but sometimes it’s not encouraged [for officials to] just accuse anyone shotgun, accusing everybody. So be selective and we have to have evidence.)
“Huwag mong sabihin na leftist 'yan, o NPA 'yan. Dapat may ebidensya tayo kung ano 'yun. Otherwise, just keep quiet,” the defense chief added.
(Don’t just accuse someone as leftist or a member of the NPA. We should have evidence.)
Amid the spate of red-tagging reports a few months back, the Commission on Human Rights, in a statement in May, reminded the government that the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 meant that being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines is no longer illegal.
"The challenge before those who accuse is to prove allegations of any illegal act before fair and competent courts," CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia had said.
Parlade reiterated Sunday he was "defending" and not red-tagging actress Liza Soberano when he warned her that she would suffer the same fate of dead or captured communist rebels.
Parlade had issued a similar warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
"Kaya nga nagpapasalamat ang kampo ni Liza Soberano through Atty. Lim. Meron bang taong nagpapasalamat sayo dahil thinreaten or hinarass mo siya?" he said.
(That's why Liza Soberano's camp thanked me though Atty. Lim. Will a person thank you for threatening or harassing her?)
"Sino bang ni-redtag ko? Wala. Dinepensahan ko si Liza Sobreno dahil bina-bash siya unfairly na 'di naman naiintindihan ng bashers niya, netizens na ang Gabriela ay legitimate organisasyon subalit ginagamit itong komunistang makibaka dahil sa agenda nila."
(Who did I redtag? No one. I defended Liza Soberano because she was being bashed unfairly because netizens do not understand that Gabriela is a legitimate organization that's being used by communists for their agenda.)
Soberano's camp earlier denounced the red-tagging of the actress, saying she remains "apolitical."
On Saturday, CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana maintained that a legal process should be followed before branding people as affiliates of communist insurgents.
"Now that we have this anti-terror law, kaunting pahanon na lang, 'pag lumabas itong proscription nitong mga organisasyong ito - sinasabi ng mga tao, bakit di kasuhan? - kasunod 'yan," Parlade said, noting that the Communist Party of the Philippines and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares are already under surveillance.
Colmenares was a former Bayan Muna partylist representative in Congress.
(Now that we have this anti-terror law, it'll just be a matter of time, when the proscription of these organizations are finalized, that the filing of charges, which is what people are asking about, will happen.)
"Of course, we have to make sure that we follow the process of designating these organizations as terrorist organizations... But yung proscription niyan, 'yung judiciary ang magde-declare sa kanila as a terrorist organization. So we will just have to wait for that. But right now, pwede na tayong mag-file ng kaso. But we want to make sure that our actions are really solid. So, that's what we're doing now. We're consolidating pieces of evidence against these people," he added.
(For their proscription, it's the judiciary that will declare them as a terrorist organization... But right now, we can already file cases.)
President Rodrigo Duterte passed the anti-terror law in July but is facing dozens of challenges before the Supreme Court. Its implementing rules and regulations were released early this month.
DOJ Undersecretary Adrian Sugay, the acting spokesman of the Anti-Terrorism Council that the law created, said last week that protest actions against government, and other civil and political exercises are not acts of terrorism.
Under the IRR, advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, and other exercises of civil and political rights are considered not acts of terrorism, subject to the same conditions that they are not intended to cause death or serious physical harm to a person, endanger a person’s life, or create a serious risk to public safety.