BY JOHNNY DAYANG
AFP Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.’s bid to score big points before his superiors by pushing an aggressive “red-tagging” agenda backfired badly.
Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza told him to shut up. Worse, the Palace cited the Secretary’s statement as also the President’s stance.
Lt. Gen. Parlade’s misplaced logic started on an erroneous premise when he issued a veiled threat to celebrities who guested in an online forum of women’s and children rights sponsored by the militant group Gabriela.
Though the military officer did not directly accuse the stars as active supporters of the New People’s Army, the flow of his statement was indisputably clear even to non-generals. By celebrities, these are actors Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin and Miss Universe Catriona Gray.
To add decibels to his argument, the general even threw a clumsy statement by way of question indirectly accusing Manila Mayor Isko Moreno of being a sympathizer of terrorists after the anti-NPA tarpaulins in the city were removed.
In defense of Moreno, Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla, in a fighting mode, chastised the general to “be ashamed of himself,” saying he “that if you or any of your men put up any posters in the Province of Cavite, they will NOT last a day!”
But singer Bituin Escalante’s name-calling was a tough own to swallow when he labeled Lt. Gen. Parlade a “fascist pig,” while Sen. Riza Hontiveros, an administration critic, used “mansplaining,” defined as “the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing” to air her disgust.
Despite owning three stars on his shoulders, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade’s arguments are off the mark. Particularly in the case of Moreno, the city mayor was right in removing it if the government, using persuasion, really wants to lure the recalcitrants to the fold of law.
Engaging in intimidating tactics like flooding cities with anti-NPA streamers (though denied it came from the AFP) create a hostile atmosphere. Instead of embracing the philosophy of attracting people to the state, some military officials embrace a dialogue of threat, intimidation, and grave warning.
Seeing women fight for the rights of their own gender and defending the rights of kids against abuses should not be condemned or discouraged through any form of distasteful caveat.
If the military wants to create an impression it is “the army of the people,” it must adopt a stance by which constitutionally guaranteed rights are respected even if at times they seem to invite anger from the duly instituted authorities.
Now, where was Lt. Gen. Parlade when Soberano was threatened with rape?