PRESIDENT R. Duterte has accepted the resignation of Lieutenant General Antonio G. Parlade, Jr. as spokesman for the country’s anti-communist task force, according to the presidential palace.

“The President has accepted the resignation of Gen. Parlade as spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict),” Palace Spokesperson Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing, citing confirmation from Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.

Mr. Parlade, in a statement, said his resignation was submitted almost a month ago “to ease the pressure on the NTF ELCAC principals who are being questioned” by legislators for designating him as an official of the civilian task force despite being an active military officer.

“I am happy that there are now six more civilian NTF spokespersons who shall carry on the fight passionately and with conviction,” he said.

The Senate earlier recommended the immediate relief of Mr. Parlade from his duty as spokesman of the task force, citing a provision in the 1987 Constitution barring an active military officer from holding a civilian position in the government.

Mr. Parlade has been controversial for tagging civic leaders and media personalities critical of the government as communist fronts.

“As spokesperson of NTF-ELCAC, Parlade used and abused his position to attack government critics, spread fake news, and red-tag activists and organizations, he should be held accountable for this,” Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said in a statement.

Mr. Parlade, who is set to retire on July 26, heads the military’s Southern Luzon Command. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza