Recent appointments of Sinas, Parlade in Duterte cabinet strengthen culture of impunity in PH —Karapatan

Human rights alliance Karapatan scored the recent appointments of former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Debold Sinas and retired lieutenant general Antonio Parlade Jr., as Office of the President undersecretary and as deputy director-general of the National Security Council respectively, as “moves that strengthen the culture of impunity in the Philippines.”

“Both Sinas and Parlade are facing complaints and allegations of human rights violations and war crimes. Sinas has presided over police operations resulting in the killings of peasants and farmworkers in Negros through Oplan Sauron, as well as police raids leading to arbitrary arrests of activists in Negros and Manila. As PNP director general, he continued to implement the administration’s drug war. Parlade, on the other hand, was chief of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Southern Luzon Command until he retired from military service last July 26, and under his term, various human rights violations, such as the Bloody Sunday raids, were documented in the Southern Tagalog region. He is facing numerous complaints at the Ombudsman and at the Commission on Human Rights for endangering civilians and activists through his rabid red-tagging,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

“Their appointments mean that President Duterte is not making them accountable for these acts. He is giving them another platform to continue their deranged red-tagging antics and rights violations. He sends the message that those promoting the administration’s bloodlust will be rewarded with higher posts in the government,” she added.

Karapatan noted that with the appointments of Sinas and Parlade, at least 70 retired military generals, police directors, admirals and colonels have been appointed to the Cabinet and other agencies, including government-owned corporations. Some of them hold posts concurrently in the National Task Force Against COVID-19.

“The militarization of the bureaucracy is in full swing during the Duterte administration. This trend fortifies the view that the administration primarily uses a militarist approach in its governance — from its policies regarding the drug war, its counterinsurgency campaign, to its response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Palabay stated.

The Karapatan official continued that the appointments of Sinas and Parlade “definitely show President Duterte’s penchant for rewarding human rights violators with government posts. Taxpayers’ money is being spent to pay for their salaries so they could use government resources for mass deception and State violence. Their appointments should be strongly denounced by all freedom-loving Filipinos as we demand that they be held accountable for their crimes.”