A gate-crashing general was booed and shooed away from a forum organized and attended by the very victims of the government’s red-baiting tactics that he spearheads.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. was escorted out of the Quezon City Sports Club room where members of the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) were attending the forum entitled “Weaponizing the Law, Criminalizing Dissent.”
The forum, co-organized by the National Union of People’s Lawyers, was aimed at highlighting “the abuses committed against critics of the [Duterte] administration.”
During the open forum, Perlade asked to speak and walked to the front but Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson Dr. Carol Araullo did not allow him.
“This is a forum organized by MAT…Gen. Parlade has every platform that he can get, including mass media to spill his twisted lies. He is not welcome here…If he can be so kind and act like a gentleman and step out of this hall,” Araullo said.
As applause greeted Araullo’s statement, an organizer motioned for Parlade to step out of the room.
The general still tried to speak but was roundly heckled.
Eventually, Araullo and several others, including a visibly incensed elderly nun, escorted Parlade out.
Out in the hallway, Parlade tried to argue but was flatly told he was not welcome.
Parlade has led the red-baiting of activists nationwide and abroad in so-called peace caravans.
Activists said Parlade’s repeated accusations endanger their lives and violate their human rights.
Last November 9, Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region chapter linked the enforced disappearance of its former secretary-general Honey Mae Suazo to Parlade’s accusations she is associated with the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (NPA).
Parlade singled Suazo out after she assisted the family of NPA leader Zaldy Cañete to visit the latter who was hospitalized after suffering near-fatal injuries after an encounter in Bukidnon Province.
The group said Suazo, missing since November 2 after visiting the graves of her departed relatives, was subjected to numerous threats, the most recent of which came from Parlade himself.
In a statement, Bayan said the organizers did not want Parlade to use the forum as his platform.
“He has no place among human rights defenders he has constantly attacked and endangered,” the group said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)