IF Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. were a tree, then he stands tallest in a landscape of treacherous fauna and ugly deceptive undergrowth that make for the panorama of his current persecution.
The metaphor is just apt.
In the first place, the general has had a penchant for likening the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) legal fronts like the League of Filipino Students (LFS); College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP); and party-lists Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Association of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Confederation for Unification, Reform and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), Anak Pawis, Kabataan, etc. to fruits that don’t fall too far from the tree. For instance, if a fruit drops under a santol tree, then that fruit must be santol. If the CPP-NPA-NDF were the communist terrorist tree, then those aforementioned legal fronts must themselves be communist terrorists.
As simple as that.
But as complicated as the labyrinth of forest hazards he must hack his way through in reaching for his cherished panorama of peace and contentment for the Filipino nation.
The groups cited above are in the forefront of what clearly is a demolition job on General Parlade aimed at getting him relieved as spokesman for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac). This is to be expected. The general has been very effective in his own propaganda offensive so that by now those organizations have been totally unmasked as the communist terrorists that they really are. With the clout enjoyed by the NTF-Elcac under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA), General Parlade predicts the total collapse of the CPP-NPA-NDF insurgency before the year ends. Already, the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) has frozen the funds of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), which is among the legal agencies uncovered by General Parlade as conduits for channeling huge funds to the communist terrorists from international donors. This has led to a massive denial of funds for their insurgency, accounting for one of the major factors of their imminent defeat.
In short, General Parlade has come to be the one single nemesis, which the Sisonite communist terrorist rebellion must get rid of. That communist terrorist stooges in the legal front are agitating for his relief is to be taken as a matter of course.
As expressed by that good old Tagalog adage: “‘Pag ang mangga ay hitik sa bunga, binabato (If a mango tree is laden with fruit, it is stoned).”
What is alarming is that if, indeed, Parlade were a fruit-laden mango tree, also stoning him for the fruits are prominent legislators who seem to be singing the same communist terrorist ditty for his relief.
From Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd, Senate Defense Committee chairman Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Senators Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Mary Grace Poe, Franklin Drilon, Jose Emmanuel “Joel” Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon and who else? All of them are threatening to have the funds of the NTF-Elcac slashed from the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA) if General Parlade is not removed as spokesman.
Appointment to that post is a prerogative of the President, who sits as chairman of the task force. So, the agitation of lawmakers against Parlade can only amount to an infringement upon a presidential function. Is such infringement allowed under the Constitution? The principle of separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government must not allow it.
Certainly, there is the principle, too, of check and balances which accounts for the overlapping of functions of all three branches of government, like it is a presidential prerogative to appoint justices of the Supreme Court or to sign into law an act passed by Congress. But the NTF-Elcac, which is a creation of Executive Order 70, is solely the domain of the executive. No debate in this respect. Only the President, as chairman of the body, is empowered to appoint its officials.
The trouble is Congress alone enjoys the power of the purse, which it exercises through the yearly budget it provides in the GAA. By holding on to that power, Congress is able to bear upon the Executive to get its wishes done.
In his latest tirade against General Parlade, Senate President Sotto issued a veiled threat that stripped of ethical pretenses could actually amount to pure and simple blackmail (based on a report by Bernadette Tamayo, The Manila Times, April 22, 2021): Sotto went on record as rejecting “calls to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) amid complaints about red-tagging activities but said that this may be taken up if the Palace continues to allow Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade [to be] its anti-insurgency spokesman.”
Remove Parlade as NTF-Elcac spokesman or we take away your funds. That’s all there is to that statement. And that’s the general sentiment expressed by all the senators cited above.
The nation must be alerted. The number of those senators must betray how deeply already the CPP-NPA-NDF insurgency has infiltrated the government bureaucracy, even penetrating the country’s legislature. The recent Senate investigation into red-tagging succeeded in, among other accomplishments, exposing the party-list groups, calling themselves the Makabayan bloc in the House, as actually legal fronts of the communist terrorists. With the current frenzied calls by the senators named above for the sacking of General Parlade as spokesman for the NTF-Elcac, it is shocking to realize that the Senate itself is no longer free from being tainted red as well.
For having been allowed to flourish over the past 53 years, the forest of the CPP-NPA-NDF insurgency now seems to have spread over the very halls of the Congress. What chance has General Parlade got in having to battle now also the very lawmakers he is sworn to defend?
Parlade para me
Like it or not, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., in a most effortless way, suddenly becomes the benchmark for whether one is pro- or anti-Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
In the controversies he has been thrown into by his detractors, one necessarily becomes pro- or anti-communist terrorist depending on whether he is pro- or anti-Parlade. His consistency to the point of obsession at exposing what he terms “duplicitous tactics” of the Sisonite communist terrorist insurgency has made him personify the government determination to end that insurgency once and for all.
I know of no other personality at the moment aside from President Duterte that has become the embodiment of the decades-old struggle of the Filipino nation to rid itself of the communist malady inflicted by the tandem of Jose Maria Sison and Benigno Aquino Jr. back in 1968.
Tarpaulins declaring the CPP-NPA persona non grata splashed on Manila footbridges, and the city mayor is quick to pin the blame on Parlade. Celebrities Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray and Angel Locsin cry “red-tagging,” bet your bottom peso it’s Parlade whodunit. A fair warning on the deceptive maneuvers of the CPP-NPA-NDF to drum up mass rage against the government through an innocent-looking humanitarian endeavor called “community pantry” can only come from who else but Parlade.
A huge bunch of senators threatens in unison to defund the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) if its spokesman is not fired and you can bet your balls this time, that guy is Parlade.
How Parlade has come to be demonized for his rabid anti-CPP-NPA-NDF stance and yet under his watch as NTF-Elcac spokesman, how massively have the Sisonite communist terrorists been exposed so that they just must buy time to stay their imminent demise!
Time has not been too far off when only legal front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF were hitting General Parlade precisely for unmasking them for what they really are: communist fronts. Party-list groups (Bayan Muna, Gabriela, ACT, Courage, Anak Pawis, Kabataan) calling themselves Makabayan bloc were one with leftist mass organizations (LFS, CEGP, NUSP, Kabataang Makabayan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, etc.) in calling for his dismissal as the anti-insurgency spokesman.
It was obvious that their intention was to stop the determined campaign of General Parlade to crush the insurgency both in the propaganda arena and in the battlefields. And in any case, this was understandable. They were the enemies the general was contending against; they would damn him till kingdom come.
Now, all of a sudden joining the obvious Reds in vehemently agitating for Parlade’s ouster were not just government officials but members of the top legislature, the Philippine Senate: Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd, Senate Committee on Defense and Security Chairman Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Senators Ana Theresia “Risa” Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Mary Grace Poe, Richard “Dick” Gordon, Franklin Drilon, Emmanuel Joel Villanueva and William Gatchalian.
Isn’t General Parlade doing a life-and-death struggle for the liberation of the country from communist terrorist aggression? And isn’t this struggle a primary strategy of the government which the general has been winning to the point of predicting the final demise of the CPP-NPA-NDF triad before the year ends. Why is it that among those fiercely agitating for his dismissal — which must only mean frustration of what is clearly taking shape now as the communist terrorists’ final defeat — are top government officials, including congressmen and senators?
Without him meaning it, General Parlade has, indeed, made of himself the paramount paradigm of what winning the war against the communist terrorists is all about.
Take Parlade and crush the CPP-NPA-NDF forever or reject him and plunge the nation into perdition. As for me, I have made my choice: Parlade para me.
Para sa bayan, Parlade is my guy!
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade explaining to officials of the European Union that their grant monies are most likely being spent to topple the Philippine government