Halalan 2022: Parlade runs for president, claims Bong Go 'controls' Duterte

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2021 02:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2021 07:53 PM

Former military general & NTF-ELCAC spokeperson Antonio Parlade files candidacy for president as substitute to Antonio Valdes of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino party. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Former military general & NTF-ELCAC spokeperson Antonio Parlade files candidacy for president as substitute to Antonio Valdes of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino party. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Retired military general Antonio Parlade, known for his stint as the mouthpiece of the government's anti-insurgency task force, on Monday filed his candidacy for president next year, as substitute of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP) party.

"Let me clarify I am not a politician, I am a soldier... With this circus that’s happening now, wala akong nakikita na may magandang pag-asa ang bayan," Parlade told reporters at the Commission on Elections which is on its last day of accepting authorized changes among candidates of political parties for the 2022 polls.

Parlade said he would like to seek the country's No. 1 job following the recent cut on the 2022 budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's (NTF-ELCAC).

"Ang tagal-tagal natin pinaghirapan maibigay sa mga malalayong lugar, ngayon gusto nilang i-dissolve?" Parlade said, taking exception of presidential aspirant Leni Robredo's recent statement against the NTF-ELCAC.

"Bakit nila gusto tanggalin, especially VP Leni Robredo? Di ka ba naniniwala sa misyon ng NTF-ELCAC which is to resolve local communist armed conflict?" he said.

Robredo said Parlade's "baseless" remarks linking her to the communist movement were "very dangerous."

"Hindi nila nare-realize na ine-endager nila iyong buhay ng mga binibigyan ng paratang na wala namang basehan," she said. 

(They do not realize that they are endangering the lives of those they are accusing without basis.)

She said she believed authorities should combat insurgency, but with a whole-of-government approach, instead of a militaristic strategy.

"Ang solusyon nito, talagang tumbukin iyong pinaka-root ng problema para ito ay mahinto," the Vice President said in an interview with reporters. 

(The solution for this is to target the root of the problem.)

Parlade likewise claimed Sen. Bong Go is controlling President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I cannot align with SBG, I'm sorry. But kasama siya sa problema ng bayan natin... I just don’t like the way he does things, including controlling the decisions of the president," Parlade said.

Go denied this. 

"Nasagot na mismo ni Pangulong Duterte na walang nagko-kontrol sa kanya. Siya mismo ang nagsabi na hindi naman sya magiging Pangulo kung pinapaikot lang siya ng ibang tao," the senator said in a statement. 

"Tanging siya ang gumagawa ng kanyang magagandang desisyon at tumutulong lang ako mula pa noon," Duterte's longtime aide said. 

(President Duterte has said no one is controlling him. He said he would not have been President if he is fooled by other. He is the only one who makes his good decisions and I only help.)

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana also belied Parlade's statement, describing it as "baseless".

"In the years I have known the President, he has always been his own man. The President stands by his own decisions, has always been firm in his directives to us who are working for him, and is not as easily swayed or influenced by others as purported by the general," Lorenzana said in a statement.

He also credited Go for assisting the Department of National Defense in ensuring the salary increase of soldiers, and supporting its programs and modernization efforts.

"He has always been our main bridge to the President and I have not known any instance when (Sen. Bong Go) acted outside the wishes and decisions of the President," added Lorenzana.

The defense chief also said there is not truth to allegations of a brewing discontent among soldiers.

Meanwhile, asked for his comment about Parlade’s bid, labor leader Leody De Guzman said that the retired military general could use his position to supposedly continue advocating for violence.

“Hindi natin aawatin sa kanyang kagustuhan tumakbo. Suballit malinaw ang layunin ni Parlade na ipagpatuloy ang kanyang krusada ng karahasan at red-tagging,” de Guzman, the 2022 standard bearer of Laban ng Masa party, told reporters.

(We cannot stop him from running. But Parlade's goal is clear, and that is to continue his crusade of violence and red-tagging.)

Parlade, who retired as head of the military's Southern Luzon Command in July, was recently appointed as deputy director-general of the National Security Council.

He was known for allegedly red-tagging celebrities and other individuals when he was still with NTF-ELCAC.

The Commission on Elections' (Comelec) tentative list of aspirants for the 2022 polls suggests that KDP is not a recognized party. Parlade said the issue is being resolved by the poll body's en banc.

Based on the Comelec's list of individuals who filed their COCs on Oct. 1-8, the KDP's presidential bet is Antonio Valdes. On Saturday, he withdrew his candidacy.

— with a report from Josiah Antonio, ABS-CBN News

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