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Parlade joins presidential race; Duterte spokesman, ex-police chief file for Senate run

A FORMER official of the government’s anti-communist task force on Monday filed his candidacy for president.

Retired military officer Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. filed his candidacy for president under the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP). He substituted for a party member.

“Let me clarify I am not a politician, I am a soldier,” Mr. Parlade told reporters. “With this circus that’s happening now, wala akong nakikita na may magandang pag-asa ang bayan (I do not see a bright hope for the country).”

Mr. Parlade, who served as spokesman for the government’s anti-communist task force, became controversial for tagging civic leaders and media personalities critical of the government as communist fronts.

A number of senators had opposed his appointment to the controversial task force, saying it violated a constitutional provision that bars an active military officer from holding a civilian position in the government.

Meanwhile, Mr. Parlade criticized Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go for supposedly controlling President Rodrigo R. Duterte and called him one of the country’s “problems.”

“I cannot align with SBG, I’m sorry,” Mr. Paralde said of the President’s long-time aide. “I just don’t like the way he does things, including controlling the decisions of the President.”

In September, Mr. Parlade was appointed to the state’s top advisory body on security policies.

Also on Monday, Mr. Duterte’s spokesman and one of his former police chiefs registered their respective candidacies for senator.

Presidential Spokesman Herminio “Harry” L. Roque, Jr. will run under the political party founded by the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. He substituted for a partymate.

Mr. Roque did not submit his candidacy papers for senator in the filing period in early October, saying he would only run if Mr. Duterte’s daughter decides to run for president.

Meanwhile, Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, who just stepped down as Philippine National Police chief on Nov. 13 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56, filed his certificate of candidacy under Partido Reporma, the party of presidential candidate and Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, Sr.

Mr. Eleazar replaced Paolo Capino, an advocate for persons with disability, who said he was withdrawing as his chances of winning are “slim to none.”

Mr. Eleazar, in a short statement posted late Sunday, said he hopes to replicate the service he delivered as police chief.

Poll watchdog Kontra Daya denounced the mockery of election rules, particularly the withdrawal and substitution for the country’s two highest positions.

“The disastrous political spectacle these past few weeks could have been avoided if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared as nuisance candidates those who were clearly placeholders based on the public statements either by themselves or by the officials of political parties they represent,” it said in a statement.

“Had Comelec decided swiftly and decisively, substitution would not have been allowed, sparing the public from the political maneuverings of the rich and powerful,” it added.

Kontra Daya called on the poll body to “redeem itself by unilaterally declaring these placeholders as nuisance candidates, effectively voiding the substitutions.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Russell Louis C. Ku

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