Army general claims critics did not read 'warning' to Soberano in full
This photo shows Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy chief of staff for civil military operations.
PCOO, file
Army general claims critics did not read 'warning' to Soberano in full
( - October 23, 2020 - 11:30am

MANILA, Philippines — The head of the military's Southern Luzon Command said Friday his statement to actress Liza Soberano was not a threat, that is even if he cited a case of a killed activist in warning the actress on dealing with leftist groups.

In multiple television interviews, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. instead blamed his critics for supposedly not reading his statement in full and only relied on media reports. Parlade issued his statement using the official Facebook page of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which has a history of posting unverified and false claims.

"Let me start by saying that many of those who made those comments probably did not read my statement. They are probably basing these comments on second-hand information," Parlade said on ANC's "Headstart".

He said that his statement was "just to help Liza Soberano and the netizens to understand what the duplicity of Gabriela is."

We are publishing that statement below: 

READ | Statement of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. on Liza Soberano being “red-tagged”
Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It's not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women's rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights. Is she an NPA? No, of course not. Not yet. So let's help educate her and the other celebrity targets of Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the Underground Mass Organization hiding under Gabriela Women's Party.

So, Rep. Arlene Brosas and Gabriela, shame on you if you haven't informed your recruits about your hidden violent agenda.

Liza Soberano, there' s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don't, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira @ELLA, former Deputy Secretary General of Gabriela Youth of UP, Manila and defender of women's rights, even against sexual predators amongst her comrades in the NPA unit she joined which is clearly stated in her handwritten letter addressed to a certain @EMIL. 

It's a pity she learned about non sense things like nabbing a firearm, exploitation while already inside the underground. It was too late, she is dead.

The choice is yours Liza. And so with you Catriona. Don't follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares (Locsin) took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this.

Southern Luzon Command, AFP



The general added that he never claimed that the actress is a member of Gabriela or of Gabriela Youth, the youth arm that organized the webinar where Soberano appeared as guest speaker.

"Association, yes (there is)," he said. 

"And that's going to be the start of it if we don't pursue this... our job of educating the people of this duplicitious nature of Gabriela and these Makabayan bloc organizations," he also said.

He acknowledged that speaking up about women's issues is protected by the Constitution before yet again alleging that Gabriela "especially those nominated as party-list members of Gabriela are communist cadres." He did not cite proof or lay any basis to his claim.

"They cannot deny it," he said, of his unsubstantiated allegations that Gabriela and other members of the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives have also already repeatedly denied and condemned.

At the same time though, Parlade later said that he does not mean that being left-leaning makes one a terrorist.

"It's okay to be a member of [League if Filipino Students], a member of Anakbayan, Kabataan, but be careful with this Kabataang Makabayan," he said. He said that he mentioned Soberano in his statement because "if these engagements continue, chances are they will end up in the agenda that these groups want."

Gabriela: Statement was a veiled threat

In a separate earlier interview on ANC's "Matters of Fact", Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela) said that Parlade's statement carried a veiled threat against Soberano even if the general said that the actress should not be red-tagged.

"No, there is a veiled threat," Brosas said in Filipino. "Right after he said (not to red-tag), he also said... technically, it's like you're branding the person that 'she will so this, therefore this is what will happen to you.'"

In a statement on Thursday, Brosas said  that "by saying that Soberano is 'not yet an NPA,' [Parlade] is maliciously associating the actress with the armed movement when what she did in the youth forum was to only speak up for victims of gender-based violence and abuse." 

That said, Brosas added she has no knowledge of Gabriela or Gabriela Youth trying to recruit Soberano. "What I know is she was invited to the talk in a webinar on the 'girl child', because it's 'Girl Child Month', so definitely, Gabriela has activities for that."

Although she acknowledged that Soberano's case is different, Brosas said that others who have been red-tagged like rights worker Zara Alvarez and lawyer Ben Ramos have ended up being killed. She said that the deaths show that red-tagging — or labelling someone as a communist rebel or sympathizer — endangers people.

She added that the military's claim that members of the Makabayan bloc are communist rebels is not new. "We are not surprised because the military has been doing that for how many years but they cannot bring us to court. That means they don't have evidence. These are all lies," she also said.

'Liza not afraid, did nothing wrong'

Also on ANC, Soberano's lawyer Juanito Lim Jr. said he did not "sense any fear" in his client over Parlade's statement. 

"She has no reason to be afraid. She has not done anything wrong. She was just expressing her views," he said, adding that the actress "will continue to exercise her right to free speech without fear or restraint from anyone."

"Respect for women and children is a universal view. You can be left-leaning, you can be siding with the government, but respect for women and children is a value everyone can share," he said.

Lim on Thursday said that he and her legal team "denounce in the strongest terms the 'red-tagging' of our client, Ms. Liza Soberano in some social media platforms."

He added that Soberano is "apolitical" and that "expressing her love and respect for women and children is her personal advocacy." — Jonathan de Santos

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