MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) have no policy against any dissenters, Solicitor-General Jose Calida told the Supreme Court.
He said the government, too, has no law enacted or implemented to silence dissidents.
“Both agencies, in fact, remain committed to upholding the rule of law, protecting the constitutional rights of every Filipino, and serving the best interest of the country,” Calida said in a comment submitted to the Supreme Court on March 19, 2021.
He said that Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade’s Facebook post about individuals and organizations opposing the Anti-Terrorism Act was made in his personal capacity, not as a government security officer.
The Solicitor General’s Office was responding to a petition filed by retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and retired Associate Justice and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales about Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.’s Facebook post that red tags and threatens all opponents of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
READ: 2 former Supreme Court justices push back vs Parlade threats
Parlade, the current Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Southern Luzon Command and a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said on Facebook that persons, parties, and organizations opposing the law should be monitored.
The military official made the post just a few days before the Jan. 19 oral argument on the petitions challenging the anti-terrorism law’s legality.
A part of Parlade’s post said: “The SC will soon be hearing petitions against the Anti-Terror Law. Let’s be watchful of these individuals, groups, and organizations opposing a law that will protect our citizens from terrorists. What’s their agenda?”
Carpio and Carpio-Morales are among the more than 30 petitioners who challenged the law’s legality.
“The Day of Judgment is upon you and the Filipino people, who have suffered enough from the malignant hands of the CPP NPA NDF of which you are part of, sit in judgment. Very soon, blood debts will be settled. The long arm of the law will catch up on you, and your supporters,” read Parlade’s Facebook post.
Carpio and Carpio-Morales believed that the post was “designed to intimidate (blood debt will be paid).”
Calida said, “the AFP and NTF-ELCAC, clearly, have no personal knowledge on the circumstances and intent behind its alleged posting.”
“There can be no violation of the Bill of Rights when committed by a private individual. To stress, the subject Facebook post was posted by Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade in his personal capacity,” Calida said.
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