Looks like Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. is not done with red-tagging organizations he feels have slighted him or his organization, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
This time, he dragged in the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) as another front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
In an hour-long interview with One News’s The Chiefs, Parlade claimed that the government has been losing the propaganda battle because certain members of the NUJP now work for the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Nauna na ang NPA sa propaganda war. Lunod na lunod na tayo sa narrative nila. Marami kasi dito sa NPA, nasa management level na ng media,” Paralde said during the interview.
According to the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, these “management-level media” members of the NUJP came from the ranks of the College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and the League of Filipino Students (LFS), two nationwide student organizations known for their progressive stands on national issues.
Pressed by hosts of The Chiefs for evidence, methodology, or criteria in identifying these alleged members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, Parlade only said they have testimonies from NPA defectors.
As far as NTF-ELCAC’s monitoring is concerned, Parlade said he was not privy to his task force’s methods of monitoring suspected terrorists—which is why he said they have to resort to “informing the public” of these organization’s supposed wrongdoings.
He would also use Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s statement as a “go-signal” to continue his crusade. “I met with Lorenzana and he told me as long as we have evidence, I can keep doing what I have been doing.”
Burden of proof is on accuser
The NUJP has issued a statement regarding Parlade’s tirades against them and media practitioners in general.
[Statement] NUJP TO PARLADE: The burden of proof is on the accuser
In an October 26 appearance on One News' The Chiefs. Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, practically red-tagged,
— NUJP (@nujp) October 28, 2020
In it, they said Parlade practically red-tagged the NUJP and the media industry as a whole.
“This is the first time the good general has cast his broad red-tagging brush on the media industry as a whole, and on senior news managers… thereby painting a virtual target on everyone who mans the country’s news desks and newsrooms.”
The NUJP, however, stressed that it is on Parlade to provide evidence to his claims. “In our legal system, the burden of proof lies on the accuser,” the statement said, adding that the only proof Parlade has offered to date is “a lot of hot air.”
This was also evident during his interview with hosts of The Chiefs.
Parlade kept dodging questions from the hosts, some of whom represent the very people he broadly red-tagged.
Questions like criteria for “isolating the suspected rebels” and the government’s proof that organizations like the NUJP are mere fronts for the CPP were repeatedly brushed to one side, as Parlade seemed both irritated and flustered by such probing questions.
What he offered in exchange is something that most netizens have often dismissed—government propaganda.
This isn’t the first time Parlade spoke out against the media and branded progressive groups as communists.
In a statement issued on May 12, Parlade would practically red-tag organizations who have shown support for the reinstatement of ABS-CBN’s legislative franchise.
He would cite organizations like the NUJP, CEGP, and the Union of Journalists of the Philippines, a student organization of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP-CMC).
UP-CMC issued a statement on May 13 saying Parlade and the NTF-ELCAC should “investigate why the controversial ‘Wow China’ has been airing on government media since 2018.”
UP-CMC also said that it takes red-baiting, a tactic which Parlade claims is all CPP, seriously. “An attack on our students is an attack on our College.”
Parlade would be quick to counter, saying they have been “advising” media practitioners instead. He would also say Joma Sison, the founder of the CPP, wanted UP to be known as “a breeding ground for commies.”