Since 2016, I have been defending the budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) and all its attached agencies. Last year, I stubbornly fought to retain the P16.5-billion anti-insurgency fund of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for 2021, arguing that it was intended for development programs, activities and projects in areas that had been cleared of the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA), and not for armed anti-insurgency operations.
Early this year, the Senate approved in plenary my Committee’s recommendations on the red-tagging issue – including the immediate relief of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. as spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, not only because his civilian position is violative of the Constitution. He has in fact, on many occasions, become a “liability” to the overall efforts of the government, as well as the government’s position on the pending 37 petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 before the Supreme Court, mainly due to his careless remarks and flawed interpretation of certain provisions of the law.
Unfortunately, the DND has openly ignored the Senate in that regard. Thus, I am not sure if I will still defend their budget this year with the same tenacity as I did the previous years – especially if the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson continues to threaten to affect its mission with uncalled-for statements.
How the government sets a balance between promoting civil liberties and protecting the security of the state defines the foundations of our democracy.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues of this venerable chamber, I have the honor to report the result of the public hearings, in aid of legislation, conducted by the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, on the issue on “red-tagging or red-baiting” as embodied in Committee Report No. 186.
With its new chief’s instructions to exercise due diligence, the Armed Forces of the Philippines should do better against the threats of terrorism and insurgency, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Saturday.
Lacson said he is hopeful that with new AFP chief of staff Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana’s emphasis on tact and sensitivity, there will be no repeat of the recent gaffes especially in anti-insurgency efforts.
“I just hope Lt. Gen. Sobejana’s initial pronouncements will serve as the policy guideline for the AFP,” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.
This is a continuation of our previous public hearing held last October 5, 2020, on the MUP pension bills referred to this committee, which was suspended with the commitment that an actuarial study would be conducted by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) together with our key stakeholders, such as the Bureau of Treasury and the MUPs, among others.
Just to refresh our memory, last year and this year’s appropriations reflect the veracity of this serious financial concern, given the steep increase in the MUPs’ pension funding from P80 billion in 2020 to P120 billion under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
May mga pangyayari na puwedeng pagbatayan para ipagpaliban muna ang pagpapawalambisa sa 1989 UP-DND Accord.
Ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson, ang listahan ng mga estudyante ng University of the Philippines na diumano’y naging miyembro ng New People’s Army (NPA) at napatay sa pakikipagsagupaan sa militar ay isa sa mga pangyayaring dapat na tingnan.
“I think it is prudent now for Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to at least suspend the termination of the UP-DND accord and hold a dialogue as he already mentioned he would do,” paliwanag ni Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, sa panayam ng CNN Philippines.
Ayon sa mambabatas, lumalabas na base sa maling impormasyon ang naging basehan ng DND para i-terminate ang kasunduan, dahil ang mga nasa listahan nila na diumano’y nahuli o napatay ay buhay at malaya pa pala.
“They based their decision to terminate the UP-DND accord, signed way back, on what appears now to be false information. They included personalities that they said were captured or killed in action by the military, but turned out to be alive and not captured at all,” banggit ni Lacson.
Recent developments involving decisions based on “false” information may merit at least a suspension of the Department of National Defense’s decision to end its agreement with the University of the Philippines, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.
Lacson said this after DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana apologized for an “unpardonable gaffe” involving the military’s list of UP students supposedly recruited by the New People’s Army and killed or captured in clashes.
“I think it is prudent now for Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to at least suspend the termination of the UP-DND accord and hold a dialogue as he already mentioned he would do,” Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, said in an interview on CNN Philippines.
“They based their decision to terminate the UP-DND accord, signed way back, on what appears now to be false information. They included personalities that they said were captured or killed in action by the military, but turned out to be alive and not captured at all,” he added.
Ito ang tiniyak ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense, sa usapin ng posibleng pagtukoy sa red-tagging bilang isang asuntong kriminal.
Ang komite ni Lacson ang nanguna sa pagdinig ng Mataas na Kapulungan sa naturang usapin.
Isiniwalat din ng mambabatas na matapos ang pagdinig ng pinamumunuang komite sa nabanggit na usapin, puspusan na ang ginagawang pag-aaral ng kanyang tanggapan sa lahat ng argumento at position papers na isinumite ng dalawang panig sa naganap na tatlong pagdinig.
The 1987 Constitution will be the ultimate guide on whether there is basis to criminalize “red-tagging,” Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Thursday.
Lacson said he and his legislative staff are poring over position papers and other materials gathered from all sides during the last three hearings on the issue.
“We will study and consider the matter, but the bottom line is that such a move will not violate our Constitution,” he said in an interview on DZAR radio.
“One major issue to be addressed if we are to criminalize red-tagging or red-baiting is if it will infringe on our Constitution’s provision ensuring freedom of expression and freedom of speech. This is a basic right that cannot be violated. That said, there are opposing views that such freedom is not absolute – that is why we have laws penalizing libel and cyber-libel,” he added.