Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

Friday the 13th

Aug 13, 2021
Cheers to retirement, highly confident of a mission accomplished. Cartoon by Steven Pabalinas.

By (Ret) LtGen Antonio Parlade Jr.

I normally don’t write my articles a week before submission because I want to see the developments for the week and see what is relevant to merit public attention. So, yes, I write my piece the night before submission, or even a few hours before crunch time to make it more exciting.

That’s the reason why I have not followed up on the sequel of previous topics. There are just too many relevant developments to discuss that you skip some to oblivion.

This column falls on a Friday the 13th, and I did not want to wait for any development on that week, good or bad. To many a soldier, especially to those with superstitious inclinations, Friday the 13th is an unlucky day to conduct combat missions. Still, to some, it brings good luck.

But I have found the 8th to be my lucky day as I have kept a tab of my combat exploits and realized that my lucky streak happened on the 8th of every month.

But this piece which I am writing a week before on the August 8th, has nothing to do with superstition though. I am simply inspired to write while relaxing in my bahay kubo, overlooking this beautiful Tayabas Bay.

Parlade writes from his first days of retirement overlooking Tayabas Bay, seated on a bamboo bench amid a recluse of mangroves, with his faithful friend.

Following the article I wrote last week, I want to ask Jose Ma Sison about his “Oplan Hades.” He has been denying that there is such a plan to target officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).

Memo MNM03-2502-18, issued in February 2018, clearly provides direction to all the regional operations command (ROC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) national military commission: to undertake special partisan operations (sparo) or murder squads targeting those with “blood debts.”

These are standing orders, way back during the time of President GMA, and renewed by the CPP in 2017. It was issued to harass counter-revolutionaries in the hope of scaring them away.

What happened instead is that more people have become bolder and steadfast in their utterances to counter the propaganda and scare tactics of the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

No, not this time, Mr. Sison.

The people have been enlightened and they can no longer be silenced. Fifty-three years of violence and terrorism is simply too much for a people to take.

I suspect that if Sison were to show up in any transport terminal in the Philippines, 90 million people would come and disregard the queues to get ahead in slapping him in the face until he bleeds to death.

Yes, we cannot blame them for any and all visceral reaction against Sison’s physical appearance. The other 20 million will wait to spit on his grave.

But, hey, there are the remaining 1 million of the country’s population. Well, these are the Kamatayan bloc and their stooges who as we all know by now might just be too afraid to come out on that day of reckoning.

What about “Oplan Tabasco”? The memo states that it is an elaborate plan to assassinate police and security officials involved in the government’s war on drugs, or “Oplan Tokhang,” for pogi points to the masses. With hindsight, it appears now that it is simply an alliance- building measure with the dilawans, many of whom have figured in drug operations and other related syndicated crimes.

Are these people targets too? Apparently, they are not.

I had been assigned to Quezon and Calabarzon for many years, far too long for me not to know about those who are involved in the drug industry in the area. Remember the 400-kilogram drug haul in Sariaya in early 2000? And the ambulance-loaded drug haul of about 600 kg in Real? And the hundreds of packs of cocaine found washed up on the shores of Polillo and Mauban?

The drug lord suspected of running those operations ended up becoming the treasurer of the Liberal Party. How is that possible for a government which trumpets the slogan “daang matuwid”? These egregious and scheming activities of narco-politicos were happening under our noses then.

If Sison’s “Oplan Hades” cannot be executed against targets during the term of GMA and PNoy, how can the CPP death squads implement them now when majority of the people are obviously supportive of this move by President Rodrigo Duterte to rid our streets of this drug menace?

 If “Oplan Tabasco” cannot be implemented from February 2018 to 2020, how can the CPP-NPA-NDF implement them now, when most of their regional special operations groups (RSOG) members have fallen?

Indeed, how?

Now we talk of the last “Oplan Casino.” Yes, I can imagine my critics chuckle, “there goes Parlade again. After “Red October” in 2018, here he comes again with “Casino Royale” or some random Tom Clancy-esque conspiracy theory.

Nobody believed me then when we exposed Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) and the CPP’s plan in the lead up to the martial law anniversary on Sept. 21, 2019. Yellow senators tried to pressure me into revealing what I knew then about those meetings of Tindig Pilipinas and Oplan “Red October.”

 Of course, I did not give in, but somebody from the AFP did. Careerists among us always do.

So, Casino? It’s not about Teddy Casiño. In this time of the pandemic possibly, we can all relate to this. It’s something we cannot do without nowadays, especially after going out of the house or touching things. Honestly, I don’t give a damn what that unconscionable CPP memo intends to do now.

Bottom line, this CPP scourge is a goner – that’s my fearless forecast on this Friday the 13th.

RETIREMENT RITES. AFP chief, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana leads the change-of-command and retirement ceremony for Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. (center) at the Southern Luzon Command headquarters in Lucena City, Quezon last July 25, 2021.

Solcom chief Parlade retires

MANILA – Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. on Sunday formally retired from the military after 38 years of service.

Parlade was replaced by 2nd Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro in a joint change-of-command and retirement ceremony, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said in a statement Monday.

AFP chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana presided over the ceremony at the Solcom headquarters in Camp Nakar, Lucena City, Quezon.

“Southern Luzon Command, under Lieutenant General Parlade, certainly ensured that the people of Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region are free from the influence of the enemies of the state, who continuously resort to violence, intimidation, and deception in pursuing their crooked interests and vile goals,” he added.

As Solcom commander, Parlade pursued the effective and timely implementation of campaign plans that aim to finally neutralize or destroy the remaining communist terrorist groups (CTGs) operating in southern Luzon.

Working hand-in-hand with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), Solcom was able to address insurgency in the region through combat operations and addressing its main causes.

Parlade also led Solcom in stakeholder engagements and community support programs to identify and address issues that the CTGs exploit for their propaganda.

He was also instrumental in the activation of humanitarian assistance and disaster response task groups, in close coordination with disaster risk reduction and management councils, which enabled Solcom to respond to any eventualities, especially during the unrest of the Taal Volcano.

“Indeed, Solcom, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Parlade, is always ready to safeguard the people of Southern Luzon from whatever danger or unwanted circumstances that threaten the security environment in the area of operations,” Sobejana said.

Parlade resigned his concurrent assignment as spokesperson for the National Task Force for the Elimination of Communist Armed Conflict, a month before to prepare for his retirement. He is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1987. (PNA)

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