By Deighton Acuin


Senator Panfilo Lacson said a temporary “gag order” against National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Spokesperson and Southern Luzon Commander Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. is not enough after issuing derogative remarks against lawmakers and organizers behind community pantries.

‘’The issue goes beyond the attacks issued by Parlade on the organizers of community pantries as well as against the members of the Senate. A temporary ‘gag order’ is thus not the appropriate response,’’ Lacson, who is also serving as a chairperson of the Senate national defense and security committee, said in his statement on Monday.

‘’In the first place, as an active member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Parlade ‘cannot be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government,’ according to Art. XVI, Sec. 5, Paragraph 4 of no less than the 1987 Constitution,” Lacson pointed out.

He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Department of National Defense (DND) should heed the calls of recalling Parlade to the military service.

‘’He should be censured for dabbling in politics instead of just focusing on his inherent mission as commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command – that is, to fight threats such as terrorism and insurgency,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, the lawmaker said that the political statements made by Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy “are her and the NTF-ELCAC’s responsibility to the Filipinos.”

Lacson’s statement came after Parlade called senators “stupid” after they urged for defunding the NTF-ELCAC. With this action, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon ordered Parlade to avoid issuing attacks against community pantries as the government repeatedly supporting the initiative.

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