Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Southern Luzon Command chief and spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, is a hero. He is risking his life for the nation as the most powerful critic of the communist insurgency and he is starting to open the eyes of Filipinos to this grave threat to our nation’s stability, and even democratic ideals.
There hasn’t really been anybody — except for President Duterte — who has been so bold as to openly challenge the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and expose it as now the gravest threat to the nation, and reveal to the public its devious tricks and witting or unwitting mouthpieces.
General Parlade is a hero
Can you tell me if anybody, even during martial law (and except for President Ferdinand Marcos, that is) who has been as vocal as Parlade in openly battling the CPP?
Parlade knows of course that he is risking his life. Military men retire at 56, which is just a few years away for him. That means either Parlade would have to spend a fortune for bodyguards if the CPP, as is likely, were to “make a sample” of him, puts him in its version of a permanent fatwah or “enemies-of-the-people” list.
The chief of metropolitan police intelligence during the Marcos years, Col. Rolando Abadilla, had not been known as a fiery communist hunter, although the units under him captured several high-ranking communists. He was focused more as Marcos’ trusted colonel who kept tabs on the Liberal Party opposition to see if they were planning a coup. Abadilla retired (or was forced to resign) by the Corazon Aquino regime right after it took power. Ten years later, in 1986, he was assassinated by the communist urban hit squad, the Alex Boncayao Brigade. The communists sent a strong message to the military that has reverberated since: “We don’t forget.”
Thus this huge problem of our military establishment in ending the communist insurgency: It has been rare for top military leaders to be committed to lock horns with it and very openly so.
A big reason for this is that a military man gets to be in a major commanding post only in his 50s. But that would be a few years before he retires at 56. Given human nature of course, a colonel or a general would prefer to breeze through their last commands without being known as an enemy of the communist movement. Such hesitancy to combat the insurgents cascades down the chain of command.
The only military man in memory bold enough to have done his job is the former general, Jovito Palaparan, who very nearly wiped out the NPAs in Eastern Visayas, at that time the communists’ main stronghold. In her 2006 state of the nation address, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) praised Palparan’s successes against the NPA in that region.
And look at what happened to Palparan. While I have been unable to do research on the charge of kidnapping and “enforced disappearances” of two alleged activists in 2006 brought against Palparan, for which he was convicted in 2018 — and therefore I cannot have an opinion on it — his case demonstrated the tremendous power of the communists’ propaganda and political network. He was demonized, with the communists influence even extending to Wikipedia, which had an entry on him that read in its second paragrah: “He earned the nickname “Berdugo” (“The Executioner”) for his alleged involvement in numerous human rights violations…” How many violations? The Wikipedia entry said it was based on a Rappler.com article.
I myself had a taste of the fear the communists could strike on a person in 2004, when President Arroyo sent me when I was her chief of staff, with another former communist, my deputy the late Renato Velasco, to talk to the leftwing party-list representatives to get their support for her presidential bid.
While the meeting at Alfredo’s Steakhouse was supposed to be with the representatives — I remember only Teodoro Casiño – the person who talked to us was the communist official ‘handling’ them, who was a comrade back in our University if the Philippines days in the 1970s. Casiño and the other leftist congressmen sat in a nearby table, enjoying their prime ribs and wine.
One thing I cannot forget the communist cadre told us: “Bobi, we’ll still be here long after your boss GMA is out. Remember that.” While he could have meant it as just a boast, it could have also been a threat: After GMA steps down and you’re no longer with government and without your PSG bodyguards, we’ll still be around.
I would think that military officials would know that kind of situation. When they retire at 56, the NPA would most likely still be there, unless the Duterte administration finally wipes them out, that is.
The Communist Party, because of unique circumstances has built up a huge network of witting and unwitting supporters. Having been a party cadre myself in my youth and in media for most of my working life, I know for a fact that most of the present media are under the communist spell. A few had been with the party and have romanticized it, while most think that the CPP and its New People’s Army are merely fighting for the “poor,” ignorant of the fact that its primordial aim, proven by communist parties around the world and here, is the capture of state power.
The Yellow Cult with its remaining politicians at the national level and Western bleeding-heart nongovernment organizations are allies — again wittingly or unwittingly of the communists, and would follow every propaganda line the CPP lays down. Thus the barrage of rants against Parlade. It’s the same crowd — the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) most especially, Rappler, Human Rights Watch, Yellow senators, Commission on Human Rigths, the Red fronts like the NUJP and party lists – who are after Parlade.
In a Facebook post Parlade branded as fake a report by PDI that two Aetas were arrested and tortured by Army soldiers. He pointed out that the report was disseminated by the communist “propaganda machines” Human Rights Watch and Kodao.
I cannot blame Parlade for saying that. I know for a fact that the Human Rights Watch Philippines was recruited by the communists in Mindanao in the early 1990s and wrote for the communist news website bulatlat.com. Kodao on the other hand is an artists’ group that is officially a member of communist leader Jose Maria Sison’s international front International League for People’s Struggles. Parlade said that the army unit pointed to by the PDI reporter wasn’t even in the area.
A netizen posted a question in Parlade’s post asking whether charges could be filed against the PDI reporter. Parladr replied: “Aiding the terrorists by spreading lies? Puede (Possible).” For just remarking “pwede,” he is “threatening a reporter”?
Parlade is the foremost spokesman of this Republic’s fight against this insurgency which has plagued this land for 52 years.
He will make mistakes. Every spokesman does, as this job requires you to open your mouth even if you’re enraged at the question for its stupidity, or when you don’t have the luxury of first analyzing the impact of what you say, as just a few seconds’ pause could be spun the next day by the PDI with a photo of you at that moment with a caption: “Clueless.”
I know this, as I was once a spokesman for a president.
Remember that Parlade is risking his life in being the most articulate figure challenging the communist insurgency that has taken the life of 50,000 Filipinos. Respect him for that. In my book, he is a patriot and a hero of our time.