May 3, 2021

Executive Editor
Philippine News Agency
Visayas, Avenue, Quezon City

Dear Sir,

Please allow us to set the record straight involving the claims made by Mr. Jun Ledesma in his column published by the Philippine News Agency last April 30, where he accused senators, including Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, of being part of Jose Ma. Sison's "new legal front" after they sought sanctions on NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

First: Sen. Lacson's basis for seeking the relief of Lt. Gen. Parlade stems from no less than the basic law of the land. Under Art. XVI, Sec. 5, Paragraph 4 of the 1987 Constitution: "No member of the armed forces in the active service shall, at any time, be appointed or designated in any capacity to a civilian position in the Government, including government-owned or controlled corporations or any of their subsidiaries."

The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), chaired by the President, can hardly be considered a military agency.

Second: Mr. Ledesma made a big deal out of counter-propaganda. Last time we checked, propaganda and counter-propaganda both seek to win over the hearts and minds of their targeted audiences. Has ever occurred to Mr. Ledesma that Lt. Gen. Parlade has also 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?

Rest assured that Sen. Lacson, who spent his military and police career fighting armed threats such as the New People's Army, will never agree to be a legal front for armed warfare against the State. This position has not changed, and will never change.

However, Sen. Lacson cannot turn a blind eye to violations of the Constitution by those sworn to uphold it - and especially not to their reckless remarks and actions that may jeopardize their mission.

We hope this clarifies matters. Thank you very much.

Respectfully yours

Joel Locsin
Media Relations Officer
Office of Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson