Former congressman and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares and the members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives are communists, Armed Forces’ Southern Luzon Command chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. said today in a televised interview.
Parlade has become controversial in recent days after he warned actress Liza Soberano against joining the feminist organization Gabriela, warning her that she might end up dead like other activists. He also accused Ella Colmenares, Angel Locsin’s sister, of being a member of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the communist party. Ella has denied Parlade’s accusation while Locsin has called out the military man for his penchant for red-tagging.
The general said today in an interview on cable channel ANC that Colmenares, Ella’s nephew, is under surveillance due to his links to the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“It’s not only Neri Colmenares [who is under surveillance] but it is also other members of the Death bloc (Makabayan bloc),” he said. “They are card-bearing members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and I like to repeat that again and again and again,”
Parlade, who insisted that he was “sure” about his accusations, said his allegations are based on the testimonies of former communist rebels.
“They have many colleagues before who is now with us and are explaining how it works in the organization…[We are going after them because] people are clamoring why these people are not being charged,” he said.
Parlade said he has already met with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana after the latter scolded him for publicly red-tagging without any proof.
“We discussed that already. I talked to Secretary Lorenzana….Yes, we have hard evidence. What do you think of the testimonies of their former colleagues? Aren’t they evidence enough to prove that these people are connected with the communists? I am not going to speak here if I don’t have evidence,” Parlade said.
Parlade admitted that the military has been spying on suspected communists without a court order, which goes against the recently passed Anti-Terror Law.
“We’ve been doing surveillance even before this law,” Parlade said. “That’s part of the job of the intelligence that we do surveillance.”
Meanwhile, Colmenares, who was interviewed separately on the same show, said he intends to sue Parlade after President Rodrigo Duterte’s term ends. The lawyer said it was necessary to wait because Duterte’s power has obliterated any forms of checks and balances in the government.
“The moment President Duterte’s term ends, definitely, we will file against them because of what they did not just to me but other persons like the celebrities he red-tagged…He’s been doing that for so many years,” Colmenares said.
“We are being attacked and have a judicial forum to answer the allegations. [But] right now, it is very difficult to file cases against them. They are in government, they have all the means and the resources and everybody is intimidated by them,” he added.
Meanwhile, Locsin today shared Ella’s transcript of records at the Philippine Christian University (PCU) to prove that her sister was a student from 2005 to 2006. Parlade alleged that it was in those years that Ella went underground and joined communist rebels in Polilio island.
“As much as possible, we want to address this issue through proper channels and not in social media. It is not my responsibility to provide evidence. But since the gentleman has been non-stop targeting me and my family, we are releasing this transcript of record[s] of my sister Ella in PCU — on the year that he claimed that he has ‘witnesses’ that my sister ‘was part of an attack in Polilio,'” Locsin said.
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