THE Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA) yesterday condemned Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.’s threat to sue one of its members for alleged violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.
In a statement, JUCRA, composed of print and broadcast media covering the Justice beat, also demanded an apology as they said Parlade’s threat to sue Tetch Torres-Tupas, reporter of Inquirer.net, over an article about two Aetas, is “utterly unacceptable.”
Parlade did not answer calls or reply to messages asking for his reaction.
In his Facebook page, Parlade called Tupas’ report “fake and propaganda.”
The article was about two Aetas who have been charged for violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act and who claimed to have been tortured by the military into admitting they are members of the communist New People’s Army.
Other reporters wrote about the Aeta story, and all based their articles on a petition filed before the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the same day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 whose constitutionality is being questioned.
The Aetas want to be allowed by the Supreme Court to intervene in the petitions against the anti-terror law. They are the first to claim direct injury from the law.
Parlade said Torres-Tupas sourced her report from New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch and independent media outlets “Kodao” and “Bulatlat,” which he said were communist “propaganda machines.”
“Is this the reference of Tetch Tupas of Inquirer.net? All propaganda machines of the CPP?
Mahiya ka naman reporter ka. Matagal na na establish na peke ang news na yan, ipinipilit mo pa sa report mo? Wow! Journalism at its best,” Parlade said in a Facebook post.
JUCRA, pointing out the article was based on a petition, said, “Had Parlade done the basic diligence of reading the report, he would have known that Tupas based her article on a petition filed at the Supreme Court. Not satisfied with her Red-tagging, Parlade knowingly hooked commenters on his Facebook thread by saying `Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? Puede (it can be),’” JUCRA said.
“Parlade did not only Red-tag Tupas, he also threatened her with prosecution just because she did her job, which all of us in JUCRA do every day,” the group said.
The group asked about other who wrote the Aeta story.
“JUCRA members also reported the Aetas’ petition for intervention, based on the same Supreme Court pleading. Should we all wait for a threat from Parlade, too? Is the general suggesting that justice reporters are supporters of terrorists?” the group said.