‘Air of arrogance’ in keeping Parlade as spokesperson will ‘cost’ NTF-ELCAC-Lacson

12-May-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon displayed an “air of arrogance” by refusing to dismiss one of the anti-communist task force’s two controversial spokespersons and choosing instead to designate six more mouthpieces, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday.

Lacson told reporters that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on April 27 promised him that Parlade would be eased out from his position as spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict following the Senate’s call for his dismissal.

He added that Esperon, who is vice chair of the NTF-ELCAC, while still “reasoning out and justifying” Parlade’s post also previously confirmed that the red-tagging general would be subtly eased out as the task force’s spokesman.

Lacson said it was due to this informal commitment from Lorenzana and Esperon that he was taken by surprise a few days ago when he learned that Parlade would be retained as spokesperson and would be serving alongside seven others.

Esperon, in a press conference on Monday, announced Undersecretaries Jonathan Malaya (Local government), Severo Catura (Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat), Joel Egco (Presidential Task Force on Media Security), as well as Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago (Metro Manila Development Authority), and lawyer Marlon Bosantog (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) and Gaye Florendo (NCIP), as new spokespersons for the task force.

The task force also retained Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy as spokesperson, the other half of a widely controversial tandem along with Parlade.

Lacson said Esperon reached out to him on Sunday to say that Parlade would be relieved just before he retires on July 26.

Esperon has not offered any further explanation for the decision to hire an additional six spokespersons, Lacson noted as he slammed the move to hire additional spokespersons as one laced with “hubris.”

“It’s as if there is an air of arrogance,” he said partially in Filipino. “There is no point listening or discussing this issue with people who don’t want to listen to reason anymore.”

“The fact of the matter is, he has not been eased out,” Lacson added. “It comes off to us as a bit arrogant and…it will cost them.”

The price to be paid by the task force, according to Lacson, might be taken from its multi billion peso budget which the senator previously said he will no longer defend with the same enthusiasm for 2022 following its refusal to adhere to the Senate’s recommendation.

“Normally, the task force requests an augmentation [in their budget]…but if they don’t want to listen to us [over] a simple provision of the Constitution, we might not listen to them.”

Lacson, who seems to have no issue with Parlade serving as NTF-ELCAC spokesperson outside of the conflict presented by his military post, also said that it would be better if the task force dismissed him now and rehired him after his retirement.

Senators in a committee report said there was a constitutional infirmity in Parlade’s appointment to the civilian task force as he currently serves as an active member of the military as commander of the Southern Luzon Command.

They renewed this call last month amid Parlade’s red-tagging of community pantry organisers.



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