Instead of firing controversial Army Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy as spokespersons, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) retained the two and added six more spokespersons.

NTF-ELCAC vice chairperson and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. revealed the names of the new spokespersons during a press conference on Monday.

They are:

  • Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya (local government affairs, barangay development program, international engagement)
  • Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat Undersecretary Severo Catura (international affairs, peace process, human rights concerns)
  • Presidential Task Force on Media Security executive director Joel Egco (mass media engagements, fact-checker)
  • Metropolitan Manila Development Authority spokesperson Celine Pialago (NTF-ELCAC public affairs and information, youth concerns)
  • Marlon Bosantog (legal affairs, indigenous peoples’ concerns)
  • Gaye Florendo (assistant spokesperson on NTF-ELCAC public affairs and on indigenous peoples’ concerns)

Parlade will handle primary coverage and security sector operations while Badoy will handle social media affairs and sectoral concerns.

Esperon said that since the “CPP-NPA is a multifaceted, multilayered organization” they need to have additional spokespersons to “cover everything”.

 “The National Task Force is composed of practically all agencies of government. We are just drawing the support and pool of talents from all government agencies,” he said.

The announcement came weeks after Parlade and Badoy were heavily criticized by lawmakers and netizens for linking organizers of community pantries to the communist guerilla movement.  Like in the past, the two did not present any evidence to back up their claims. – Rommel F. Lopez