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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Ombudsman scolds ex-NTF-ELCAC execs

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The Office of the Ombudsman has reprimanded former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) officials Lorraine Badoy and Antonio Parlade Jr. for red-tagging the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

In a 17-page resolution, the Ombudsman warned it would sanction Badoy and Parlade anew should they commit the same offense.

“This Office finds that there is substantial evidence to hold respondents Parlade and Badoy guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service, an act that tarnishes the image and integrity of a public employee’s office,” the resolution read.

Badoy and Parlade made critical statements on the NUPL’s forum on dissent and its information drive to educate the public about their rights amid growing concerns of rights violations during the COVID-19 lockdown, it stated.

“These matters are not communist propaganda,” the Ombudsman ruled.

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It said the duo’s remarks “unduly tarnishes the image of the NTF-ELCAC, as it perpetuates the notion that it is being used as a governmental tool to silence dissent or opposition instead of legitimately pursuing its ultimate: goal of lasting peace and ending the armed conflict with the communist rebels.”

Then-National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon was found not guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service because the only attributable statements to him were his defense of Parlade and Badoy, the Ombudsman added.

“Nevertheless, his defense appears to be tempered, especially since he had stated that while he agreed that the CPP-NPA (Communist Party ofthe Philippines-New Peoples’ Army) had underground operations withlegal fronts, he was not concluding that the NUPL is part of the CPP, but that some of its members are allegedly part of these organizations working for the CCP,” the Ombudsman said.

The office thus imposed upon Parlade, a retired Army general before joining the NTF-ELCAC, and Badoy “the penalty of reprimand pursuant to Rule 3, Section 10 of Administrative Order No. 7, as amended by Administrative Order No. 17.”

“The respondents are sternly warned that a repetition of a similar offense would be dealt with more severely,” it said.

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