Lawmaker files complaint vs AFP official for alleged black propaganda in 2019 campaign

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) — A Party-list representative has filed a complaint against an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for allegedly participating in black propaganda during the 2019 campaign period

Bayan Muna Party List Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate filed the case against MGen Antonio Parlade Jr. at the Office of the Ombudsman, saying the AFP official "publicly attacked" his character and "engaged in black propaganda and negative campaigning."

Zarate said he and the rest of the Makabayan representatives filed a separate complaint against the AFP on April 17, 2019 at the Commission on Elections because of their actions.

However, despite the complaint, Zarate said Parlade went on with the negative campaign.

According to Zarate, Parlade has accused Bayan Muna as an organization fronting for the Communist Party of the Philippines as noted in articles published in newspapers.

In his complaint sent to the Ombudsman. Zarate said Parlade violated Section 3 (e) of Republic Act 3019, regarding corrupt practices of public officers, particularly "causing any undue injury to any party”. Zarate also maintains Parlade committed a prohibited act under Section 55 of the Administrative Code of 1987, which states "no officer or employee in the Civil Service including members of the Armed Forces, shall engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity."

He added the 1987 Constitution expressly prohibits any officer from the military from directly or indirectly engaging in any act of electioneering or partisan political campaign.

Parlade’s actions, Zarate said, showed he acted with "manifest partiality," as well as threatened his personal safety together with other people involved in the campaign.

Zarate's complaint seeks Parlade's suspension from office pending investigation. Parlade is being charged with violating the The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and grave misconduct that may result to his dismissal from public office.

It was Parlade who made public pronouncements against communist rebels for supposedly plotting to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte through a plan known as “Red October” back in 2018. He named some progressive organizations who were allegedly sympathizing with the communist rebellion — accusations these groups later denied. Parlade also made rounds claiming rebels were recruiting students from Manila schools.