Press Release
April 27, 2021

15 senators seek censure of Parlade
'Progressive thinking is not communism,' senators tell Parlade

Fifteen senators led by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon filed on Tuesday Senate Resolution No. 709 which censures Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., for his disrespectful, derogatory and demeaning statements against senators and questions the continued stay of the controversial lieutenant general as spokesperson of the government's anti-insurgency task force, which violates the Constitution.

It was Drilon who authored the resolution. Apart from Sotto, the other senators who co-authored the resolution include Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri and Senators Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano, Grace Poe, Sherwin Gatchalian, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel IV, and Joel Villanueva.

"The Senators' reprimand of Lt. Gen. Parlade is justified and scrutiny of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's use of its budget is warranted, in light of the deplorable acts and pronouncements of Lt. Gen. Parlade as NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson," they said in the resolution.

"Instead of engaging in a constructive debate, Lt. Gen. Parlade has chosen to demean and disparage the Senators, through statements that display his limited grasp of Congress' role in the budget process and show his lack of respect not just for the Senators as duly-elected representatives of the people but also for the Senate as an institution," the stressed.

The 15 senators also defended the rise of community pantries in the country, which were subjected to red-tagging by NTF-ELCAC, as they stressed that that "progressive thinking is not communism."

"Contrary to the assertions of Lt. Gen. Parlade, progressive thinking is not communism and expression of opinions or criticisms and purposeful involvement in humanitarian community efforts do not constitute rebellion, sedition, or terrorism," they said.

They added: "If Parlade's pronouncements and profiling of community pantry organizers were done pursuant to NTF-ELCAC's policy direction, then the agency has clearly departed from its mandate and members of the Senate have basis to realign its funds to more worthy causes that would make better use of taxpayers' money, such as providing much-needed aid to people suffering from the effects of the pandemic."

In an interview Tuesday, Drilon said he is certain that the resolution will be adopted when session resumes on May 17.

"This is as good as adopted when we resume session on May 17. It is a certainty that Parlade will be censured by the Senate for this kind of conduct when we resume session," he said.

"I have been in the Senate for almost 24 years. This is the first time I hear of a member of the armed forces who called the senators stupid," he said.

Senate Resolution 709 also questions Parlade's continued stay as NTF-ELCAC's spokesperson despite the Senate's adoption of Committee Report No. 186 that recommends that Parlade "be immediately relieved of his duties as spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC" and to "engage a spokesperson who does not hold concurrent mandates in the security forces" to "prevent a potential conflict between the policies of the NTF-ELCAC and the mandate of the security sector.

Article XVI, Section 5(4) of the 1987 Constitution provides that "No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries, said Drilon, a former justice secretary.

"It should be emphasized that members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should always remain apolitical while in active service, otherwise, it threatens the democratic principle of civilian supremacy over the military," they added.

The senators likewise asserted their "power of the purse" in the resolution.

"Under the Constitution, the power of the purse is exclusively lodged in Congress, whose role does not end with the passage of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) but extends to budget oversight, with Congress duty-bound to ensure that funds are judiciously and efficiently spent for the appropriated purpose, considering that budgeting involves the allocation of scarce resources for various competing demands and needs of the public," they emphasized.

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