While Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana should be commended for taking a step backward in agreeing to open the lines for future discussions with University of the Philippines President Danny Concepcion in finding a common ground to resolve the issues involving the state’s security concerns and the UP alumni’s time-honored academic freedom, Armed Forces of the Philippines Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. keeps opening new fronts for the defense establishment to address which could have been avoided but for his careless and insensitive remarks.
Coming at a time when the Solicitor General is defending the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 against 37 petitions, particularly on the issue involving “overbreadth doctrine” among others, such remarks from a high-ranking military official is uncalled for and totally unnecessary.
There are basic freedoms that remain to be protected and upheld under RA 11479, foremost is the freedom of speech or expression. Accusing a journalist of “aiding the terrorists by spreading lies,” assuming that such comment was accurately attributed to him, surely does not help the government to convince the magistrates of the Supreme Court to rule in its favor.
At a time unity is needed against threats such as terrorism, actions that threaten to divide are the last thing our country needs.