Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana lambasted retired general Antonio Parlade Jr. for reportedly engaging the military in his personal agenda to advocate for a revolutionary government on Tuesday night, March 15.
“We, at the Department of National Defense, denounce the attempt by Lt. Gen. Parlade to involve the Department especially the AFP [Armed Forces] of the Philippines in airing his personal grievances and his call for a revolutionary government,” Lorenzana said.
“As citizens of a democratic country, all Filipinos are entitled to freedom of expression but this should be done through proper grievance mechanisms,” he added.
The Defense Secretary made the remark after earlier in the day urging the AFP to reject Parlade’s calls for a revolutionary government to purge the administration of corruption.
Lorenzana made the statement after Parlade, a former anti-communist task force spokesperson, led a group of retired military generals and around a hundred civilians to the People Power Monument on EDSA in Quezon City to demand an end to government corruption. Some of those ho joined him are said to have advocated for the establishment of a revolutionary government.
He noted the 1987 Constitution’s alleged grant of “excessive power and autonomy” to several constitutional agencies, including the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, as making check and balance impossible.
The retired military officer further warned that the country might be ruled by gangsters who will supposedly sponsor the election of certain personalities in exchange for being able to influence the government.
He stated that a revolutionary government is not the solution, but that if it comes to that, “so be it.”
Lorenzana, for one, stated that the DND will continue to respect the mandates of democratic institutions while adhering to constitutional authority.
“We remain committed to do our solemn duty to the nation,” he said.
Lorenzana stated that he has instructed AFP personnel to remain neutral ahead of the May elections.
“The Constitution forbids any active military personnel from engaging in partisan politics or supporting any candidates. We will ensure that this is followed and enforced,” he said.
AFP spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala likewise dismissed Parlade’s suggestion of a revolutionary government, stressing that the 145,000-strong military personnel is committed to the Constitution and the line of command.
“While the AFP respects the people’s freedom of expression, we do not and will not support extra legal means outside the constitution which we have sworn to protect including the sanctity of the electoral process,” Zagala said in a statement.
The spokesperson further reminded that military troops should always obey the line of command and whoever is sitting as the chief executive.
Zagala added that the AFP “will remain a professional organization that will not engage in partisan politics and will at all times put the interest of the nation before personal views and opinions.”