MANILA, Philippines — Several media organizations and different groups have denounced Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. for his feedback towards INQUIRER.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas over her story on Aetas who filed a petition earlier than the Supreme Court (SC).
The National Union of Journalists within the Philippines (NUJP) stated in a Facebook publish on Thursday that Parlade’s remarks about Torres-Tupas’ story on the Aetas’ declare of torture beneath the fingers of the army — that she could also be sued for aiding terrorists — attests to the hazards of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020
Torres-Tupas’ story, entitled “Tortured Aetas seek SC help against anti-terror law,” was a narrative on the Aetas’ petition that the Anti-Terrorism Act be declared unconstitutional, which was filed as SC heard oral arguments of these towards the stated legislation.
“Torres-Tupas was simply writing about the fact that the petition was filed and recounting the allegations made in that petition,” NUJP stated in its assertion.
“The government has repeatedly issued reassurances that the law will not be used to stifle dissent or to clamp down on the press. But actions and statements by people like Parlade, who will be tasked with implementing the Anti-Terrorism Law, speak louder than those press statements,” it added.
JUCRA calls for apology from Parlade
The members of the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA), which Torres-Tupas is a member, additionally launched their very own assertion condemning Parlade’s tirades. According to the group, Parlade ought to apologize to the journalist, particularly as she was solely doing her work.
JUCRA additionally requested whether or not the remainder of the members ought to await an identical threat from Parlade, particularly because the story was written and revealed by most, if not all, of their members.
“Parlade did not only red-tag Tupas, but he also threatened her with prosecution just because he did her job, which all of us in JUCRA do every day. JUCRA members also reported the Aetas’ petition for intervention, based on the same Supreme Court pleading. Should we all await for a threat from Parlade too?” the assertion learn.
“Is the general suggesting that justice reporters are supporters of terrorists? […] Parlade’s cluelessness notwithstanding, we demand the general to apologize to Tupas,” it added.
In his publish, Parlade questioned whether or not Torres-Tupas’ sources have been allegedly propaganda equipment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Parlade, additionally an official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC) additional stated within the feedback part, when requested whether or not a case might be filed towards the reporter, that she may very well be held liable for “aiding the terrorists by spreading lies.”
The army basic was referring to a narrative on two Aetas who have been supposedly tortured and fed with feces after being arrested. But seventh Infantry Division Public Affairs Office chief Maj. Amado Gutierrez maintained that no incident occurred in the course of the August 2020 incident.
NUPL: Parlade’s ‘grotesque way’
Lawyer’s group National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), alternatively, stated that Parlade’s actions solely validate fears and criticisms towards the Anti-Terrorism Act.
“In a grotesque way, he is actually reinforcing and validating the myriad of objections and criticisms against the ATA. This is a big favor he is giving us, which is awfully unwelcome and outrageously unacceptable. Thanks, but no thanks,” NUPL president Edre Olalia stated.
Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of rights group Karapatan, alternatively, warned that this may have an impact not solely towards Torres-Tupas but in addition on each different journalist protecting delicate subjects like human rights.
“And while it could’ve been easy to laugh off Paralde’s trollish Facebook posts, his threats against INQUIRER.net reporter Tetch Torres-Tupas — especially in him posing the possibility of charging her through Duterte’s terror law for her report — is a serious and perilous threat not only against her but also against each and every journalist covering human rights issues and concerns,” Palabay stated.
“It also, rather clearly, shows the true intent of the terror law: to clamp down on our freedoms and to threaten anyone that stands in the way of this fascist regime,” she added.
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