SOLICITOR General Jose Calida has told the Supreme Court that Army Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade posted his personal views on his Facebook account, and not the official position of the government or the Armed Forces.
Parlade, known as the “red-tagging” general, is the chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command and spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC).
He is accused of making a “threatening” Facebook post against groups questioning the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, last January.
Following the post, some of the petitioners asked the tribunal to compel Calida, as the government’s legal counsel, to explain the post.
Part of Parlade’s post said: “Let’s be watchful against these individuals, groups and organizations opposing a law that will protect our citizens against terrorists. The day of judgement is upon you and the Filipino people, who have suffered enough from the malignant hands of the CPP-NPA 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.”
Calida, in a reply dated March 19, told the Supreme Court Parlade made the post in his personal capacity.
“Accordingly, the AFP and the NTF ELCAC have no policy against any dissenters of any law enacted and being implemented by the government. Both agencies, in fact, remain committed to upholding the rule of law, protecting the constitutional right of every Filipino, and serving the best interest of the country,” Calida said.
“Said Facebook post itself shows no indication, not even the logo of said agencies, that the same was posted in behalf of the government. The AFP and NTF ELCAC, clearly, have no personal knowledge on the circumstances and intent behind its alleged posting,” Calida added.
As to the petitioners arguments that the said post interferes with the SC’s administration of justice, Calida said there is no basis for their claim.
“There can be no violation of the Bill of Rights when committed by a private individual,” Calida said, adding the social media post did not “divest expressly or impliedly” any judicial recourse from those who feel aggrieved by the enactment and implementation of the anti-terrorism law.
In a separate motion dated March 23, Calida asked the SC that the government be granted a one-month extension or until April 23 to answer the petitioners’ manifestation seeking the issuance of an injunction to stop the implementation of the anti-terrorism law.
He said the OSG needs more time to coordinate with the respondents in the case.
During the oral arguments last month on the petitions questioning the constitutionality of the new law, he SC required the petitioners and Calida to submit their respective comments on the issue by February 23.
The petitioners were able to comply with the SC’s directive but Calida failed to do so. On March 15, it was learned that Calida asked the SC for another extension to March 24.