Karapatan urges CHR to withhold clearance for Parlade’s retirement

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should withhold clearances for the retirement of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., human rights alliance Karapatan urged, as the group cited that Parlade is currently “facing criminal and administrative complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman” for engaging in red-tagging during his stint as a spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and as a commanding general of the Armed Force of the Philippines’ Southern Luzon Command.

“A rabid red-tagger like Antonio Parlade Jr. deserves no graceful exit. As a spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC, he has peddled dangerous and deadly lies against human rights defenders especially from Karapatan and even against Church leaders, lawyers, actors, journalists, lawmakers and members of academic institutions and people’s organizations — putting lives and safety in grave peril. For this, he is currently facing several complaints, and the CHR should take note of these complaints which implicate Parlade in war crimes and human rights violations, and they should withhold clearances for his retirement,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay asserted.

In a letter sent to CHR Chairperson José Luis Martín Gascon today, July 9, Palabay noted that Parlade “is facing criminal and administrative complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman for alleged violations of provisions of Republic Act No. 9851 or ‘An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity,’ particularly in relation to the principle of distinction under International Humanitarian Law for red-tagging, which the group avers is a form of war crime, and of Republic Act No. 6770, otherwise known as the Ombudsman Act of 1989.”

The Karapatan official filed the said complaint on December 4 last year, and other groups and individuals have also filed administrative complaints against Parlade. Moreover, she stated in the letter that “officers of Karapatan and other rights groups also filed a petition for the writ of amparo and habeas data at the Supreme Court on May 6, 2019, with Lt. Gen. Parlade as among the respondents,” and that the Supreme Court has yet to resolve Karapatan’s petition for review regarding the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the said petition.

She further reminded in the letter that, “[a]ccording to the CHR’s Citizen’s Handbook, the Commission holds the function and mandate to issue clearances to military or police officers, among others, regarding their records of human rights violations or those with pending resolution of human rights violations” as such certifications are issued as a requirement for their retirement, among similar other purposes. Parlade has resigned as one of the spokespersons of the NTF-ELCAC amid calls from the Senate to remove him from his post. He is set to retire on July 26.

“Allowing Parlade to walk away scot-free amid the pending cases against him and allegations on his hand in various atrocities and human rights violations would be tantamount to impunity. We ask the CHR to withhold clearances for Parlade. We cannot let him get away with targeting activists and human rights defenders and endangered our lives and safety. We will continue to face the clamor for justice and for him to be made accountable for the crimes he has committed. Parlade, we will still see you in court,” Palabay ended.