By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA– A progressive lawmaker is seeking the dismissal of a ranking military general notoriously known for red-tagging human rights defenders, journalists, and critics of the Duterte administration.
In a 32-page complaint submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman, Bayan Muna Carlos Zarate said the respondent Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Administrative Code of 1987.
Parlade has been red-tagging rights advocates, and critics of the Duterte administration both here and abroad.
Journalists, too, especially those critical in their reporting, are not spared from his red-tagging spree.
No less than the United Nations Human Rights Council has long noted the link of rampant red-tagging here in the Philippines to graver human rights violations such as killings and enforced disappearances, as cited in the 2007 report of UN special rapporteur Philip Alston and the June 2020 report of the UN’s rights body.
Sabotaged Bayan Muna’s campaign?
Zarate said that during the last elections, Parlade has been actively and publicly red-tagging him. This, he added, was done by a military official who is expected to be non-partisan.
The red-tagging, he added, hindered their campaign activities as the vilification as rebels and terrorists endangered theirnlives and safety.
“Respondent Parlade’s motives and intentions are clear — he seeks to cripple and sabotage our campaign and election period,” Zarate said.
The lawmaker, also a human rights lawyer, is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code and constitutes a criminal violation of the Philippine law on graft and corription.
Use of public funds to red-tag?
Zarate said the Administrative Code of 1987 provides that no officer or employee in the Civil Service, including the armed forces, “shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity.”
He said that Parlade also used public funds and equipment to red-tag Bayan Muna.
Reports citing Parlade red-tagging spree againsr Bayan Muna and Zarate were published both in the government’s official website and some dailies during the 2019 election period. (Bulatlat.com)