AFP official heckled, kicked out of forum vs. red-tagging

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Major General Antonio Parlade (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 27) — A military official who has tagged various groups critical of the government as fronts of communist rebels was kicked out of a forum discussing the "red-tagging" and arrest of dissenters on Wednesday

Organizers of the forum slammed Major General Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, for supposedly gatecrashing and trying to hijack the forum.

During the forum hosted by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) and Movement Against Tyranny on “Weaponizing the Law, Criminalizing Dissent,” Parlade stepped forward and waved a document to rebut the speakers who were opposing “red-tagging.”

“They discussed earlier the ‘red tagging’ and arrest of dissenters that is why I brought with me the [Communist Party of the Philippines] document that says it all,” Parlade said in a later tweet. “I wanted to inform the attendees that we are not against dissenters. We are promoting democratic processes and [we don’t] want the CPP to destroy it.”

NUPL called Parlade’s interruption an attempt to “intimidate, harass and harangue.”

“It is akin to a serial rapist or serial murderer who barges cockily into a meeting of victims and their kin. It is premeditated taunting and evident provocation,” said NUPL President Edre Olalia.

Parlade was then asked to step out as the crowd heckled him.

It was Parlade who made public pronouncements against communist rebels for supposedly plotting to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte through a plan known as “Red October” back in 2018. He named some progressive organizations who were allegedly sympathizing with the communist rebellion — accusations these groups later denied. Parlade also made rounds claiming rebels were recruiting students from Manila schools.

The groups he named have decried the military’s red-tagging and have even sought protection from courts due to possible security threats.

Just in September, one of NUPL’s members who was earlier red-tagged, survived a shooting incident in Capiz, Tarlac.