Gov’t will draw the line, Parlade tells NUPL

MANILA A ranking official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) lambasted the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) for saying that they are "drawing the line" against alleged government harassment by pursuing their writs of Amparo and habeas petitions before the Court of Appeals (CA) on Tuesday afternoon.

"You do not draw the line. You are so self-righteous with your pretentious notion that you are the aggrieved party. After 50 years of silence, the government will draw the line for your deception of peace-loving people and your intimidation of the government, especially the security sector who has been at the receiving end of your legal harassment. That deception and your bullying stop now," Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr. said in a statement Monday.

Parlade, who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, was reacting to an NUPL National Executive Board Resolution dated June 2 which states that the organization and its members will not be cowed or distracted despite tagged by military and police authorities as having links to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA), aside from being accused of destabilizing the government.

The NUPL also claimed that labeling runs afoul of the Constitution aside from being a violation of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers which obligates the State to ensure that lawyers are able to perform their functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference and guarantees that lawyers are not identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.

"The NUPL is drawing the line. There shall be a reckoning, whether or not the dust has already settled. The push back starts with the petition for issuance of writ of Amparo filed against incorrigible officers of the military and shall not stop until the climate of impunity that has enabled the attacks against the NUPL and other human rights defenders is dispelled," it added.

Parlade also slammed the NUPL for its inability or unwillingness to condemn the brutal killings and other atrocities committed by CPP-NPA terrorists against indigenous peoples (IPs) despite their claims of being lawyers of the people.

"We have been challenging you to condemn the brutal killing of IPs by the NPAs and you have not. You can not," he said.

He also dared the NUPL to say something or do something for the seven innocent civilians who were reportedly kidnapped by communists in Barangay Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur on May 30.

"What can you say about the kidnapping last May 30 of seven innocent civilians who were identified as Ryard Badiang, 24; Wendil Delicuna, 25; Angelo Duazo, 34; Moni Bulando, 20; Rodelo Montenegro, 40; and children John Badiang, 8, and Gerald Sedron, 12, all residents of Barangay Mampi, Lanuza, Surigao Del Sur who were kidnapped by the NPAs?" he added.

These people, he said, also deserve NUPL's commitment to safeguarding their lives and liberty.

"What about the Manobos that your communist cohorts have been killing? Do you adore the NPAs and their cause so much that you can't say a word about their violations of International Humanitarian Law?" he added.

And despite their lack of response or criticism of the communist rebels various atrocities, he said, the NUPL still has the temerity to invoke their Constitutional rights as lawyers of the people.

"Whose people? (CPP founding chair) Jose Maria Sison's people only? You are full of hypocrisy," he said.

With these dark developments, Parlade urged idealist members of the NUPL to themselves clear from the group while they still have the chance.

"For those of you from NUPL who are unfairly dragged by your communist members in the 'Lupon ng mga Manananggal ng Bayan' (Lumaban), the underground organization of NUPL, you still have the chance to abdicate and abandon your communist friends," he added.

Parlade also scored NUPL chair and "Makabayan" Bloc senatorial bet Neri Colmenares, who lost badly in the May 13 elections, for having the gall to again avail of the democratic process provided by this democracy he wish to destroy.

"Again, who do you fool by announcing that 'the NUPL will PURSUE its petition on writs of Amparo and habeas data?' This is another cheap trick because the hearing is pursuant to the May 20, 2019 CA resolution that by agreement of the parties, the next hearing is the presentation of petitioners' evidence, ergo, it is not a matter of pursuing but abiding by the CA directive pursuant to parties ' agreement. Propaganda, no matter how cheap is what you are good at," he added.

Despite claiming that they are providing legal advice for the poor and being pro-people, Parlade said the NUPL cannot convince the public that they are working for such goals if they cannot condemn atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA, a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

"In the end, no matter what you claim, the fact remains aside from deceiving the people by your inaccurate statements that you still cannot denounce the kidnapping and brutal slaying of our IPs and poor folks in Surigao, Agusan, Butuan, Davao, and Samar by the NPAs. So tell us, are you the people's lawyers?" he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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