AFP exec not eyeing top post but ending insurgency

MANILA A ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Saturday clarified that his goal is not to get the organization's top post but to end the five decades-long communist insurgency.

"I began with my career when insurgency was at its peak in 1987. My only dream is to see its end as I retire a few years from now. A safe future for my kids is all I aspire for. To be (AFP) Chief-of-Staff is farthest from my mind. But I bet that's what you fear most because when that happens you will see yourself to extinction," AFP deputy chief of staff for civil-military operations Major General Antonio Parlade Jr. said in a message to reporters.

Parlade was reacting to recent claims by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate who alleged that former's ongoing campaign against progressive groups with reported links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) is aimed at getting the top AFP post.

"Mr. Zarate doesn't know me at all. Who me? Aspiring for CSAFP? (Chief-of-Staff AFP)," Parlade said.

He noted that he is not a careerist whose goal is to be on top.

"I work and talk because it's my sworn duty to country and people, and I don't give a damn if I'm politically correct or not, (because) I'm a soldier. I'm not a politician who talks of one thing and does another. Check my record Honorable Zarate, from lieutenant days till now," Parlade said.

The AFP official added that if he is really concerned with his career then he should be talking less and just be working on his promotions quietly.

"I should not be going against the grain by not apprehending contraband goods in Maguindanao, which I know to be a 'business' of our corrupt commanders then. That act caused the relief of two generals in Central Mindanao," he said.

"I should not be reporting the illegal activities of my immediate commander in Zamboanga, which caused my relief. This was when I was a young lieutenant and a member of RAM-SFP-YOU [Reform the Armed Forces Movement - Soldiers of the Filipino People- Young Officers' Union] because of the reforms we desperately wanted. No junior officer would survive that if your moral fortitude is not that strong," he added.

As the then Army spokesperson, he said, he talked about the frustration of Army troops when the Morong 38 NPAs were ordered released by then Justice Secretary (Leila) De Lima in 2011.

I should have kept quite during the Basilan carnage in 2012, rather than speak about the real sentiments of our troops and the colleagues of those beheaded by MILF rebels cum ASG [Abu Sayyaf Group], knowing that Malacanang puts primacy on peace talks over the pursuit of justice for the 19 brave soldiers who fought 450 MILF and ASG terrorists until they ran out of ammunition," Parlade added.

Can't be silenced

He said he is not the type to be silent just to protect his career as he was vocal in issues that may destroy him as a professional soldier.

"No, Mr. Zarate, I'm not that kind of officer who would rather sit in silence because my career will be jeopardized. I spoke about 'suspending ceasefire in Basilan' and not all-out war as your favorite paper reported (to destroy me) in order to pursue the savages, because that's the right thing to do, regardless of its consequence to my career," he added.

And by speaking out his mind, Parlade said this caused his relief as Army spokesperson, on orders of then president Benigno Aquino III.

"But I felt no remorse because it was part of my job to protect the Army, my organization, and my boss (then Lt. Gen. Arturo Ortiz), the most bemedaled CGPA (Commanding General Philippine Army) we ever had, and who was barely three weeks short of retirement. Visit me and I will show you how proud I am with my relief by displaying on my wall that banner story 'PNoy sacks Army spokesman'," he added.

He said lying and deceit will never get anyone anywhere in the military organization.

And if he really is interested in advancing his career, Parlade said he would not have dared to talk against the Makabayan Bloc as it could jeopardize his chances at getting the confirmation from the Commission on Appointments.

"There is a job to do and someone has to do it. We have the best chance to end insurgency now with a National Task Force led by the President himself. We will not let this chance pass so that finally we can have true peace and then development," Parlade said.

Lies and deception

"You and your cohorts in the CPP-NPA-NDF terrorist group, on the other hand, have survived because of the lies and deception you peddle each day. These lies and duplicity have destroyed the lives and future of so many students whose minds you have poisoned. Of late, many of them are from senior high, minors, and their poor parents are crying and begging us for help to recover these kids before they are sent to the hills to join the NPAs," he told Zarate.

Parlade said the communist organization has already destroyed democratic institutions just to push for its so-called democratic revolution.

"That's your classic revolutionary dual tactics: use democracy to destroy democracy. Join the church to destroy it. Thats what you did with the Rural Missionaries. You profess to defend human rights and IP culture but look how divided Lumad families are because of your Salugpungan. Are these the things that Makabayan bloc is proud of? What about you sir? Do you have anything to be proud of?" the military official said.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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