Gazmin urged to sack Army spokesman

SUPPORTERS of detained health workers known as Morong 43 yesterday dared Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to sack Philippine Army spokesperson Col. Antonio Parlade for insisting the 43 detained health workers were not really medical people but members of New People’s Army (NPA)- the armed wing of  the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) asked Secretary Gazmin to remove Col. Palade as Army spokesperson for branding the 43 health workers as NPAs despite evidence point out that they are all medical personnel who were arrested on defective warrant and detained on fabricated charges.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella said the walking papers should immediately be given to Col. Parlade, asserting that the Army spokesperson is behaving like a reincarnation of former Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan whom political activists described as “the butcher of Mindoro”.

“If former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has General Palparan, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III has Col. Parlade.  Like Palparan, Parlade is obsessed in Jurassic red bating and addicted to dirty war and blood against leftwing activists,” the two militant leaders said in a joint statement.

Hicap and Marbella said Col. Parlade has already turned into a political monster similar to the controversial Palparan, and he is using the spokesman post in the Philippine Army as a podium to attack the 43 health workers.

“Is he the attack dog of President Aquino and his military gangland in the AFP? Why is it Aquino and the AFP generals loyal to Aquino are allowing him to talk and act like a triple platinum attack dog of the Aquino administration?” the Pamalakaya and KMP leaders said.

President Aquino on Friday announced that the government will withdraw the case filed against the Morong 43 and instructed the Department of Justice (DoJ) to process the withdrawal of the case before the regional trial court in Morong, Rizal. But Col. Parlade said while they will follow President Aquino being their commander-in-chief, the military maintained the 43 health workers were NPA combatants when they were arrested on February 6 this year.

Pamalakaya and KMP reminded President Aquino that the world is watching his administration on the issue of Morong 43. The groups said human rights groups across the globe had already asked his government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to release the 43 health workers.

They said human rights groups from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, among  others had already asked his government to free the Morong 43. D’Jay Lazaro

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