DND chief to Parlade: Back claims vs celebrities
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade was criticized after warning actress Liza Soberano and other celebrities over their association with leftist groups.

DND chief to Parlade: Back claims vs celebrities

Romina Cabrera (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines  — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana will convene the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to discuss the “brouhaha” created by a military general’s statement linking celebrities to militant groups.

He advised Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, NTF-ELCAC spokesman, to just remain quiet.

Parlade was criticized after warning actress Liza Soberano and other celebrities over their association with leftist groups.

“Although the ELCAC is a very good idea, we cannot just issue a shotgun statement. There should be evidence before saying that the person is leftist or a member of the NPA (New People’s Army). We should have evidence. Otherwise, just keep quiet,” Lorenzana said yesterday, partly in Filipino.

Parlade denied “red-tagging” Soberano and other celebrities and said that he would not apologize for his statement.

He claimed he supports the advocacy of women’s rights, but that celebrities should not associate themselves with groups such as Gabriela, which hosted a forum that Soberano spoke in.

“I did not red-tag anyone. I’m not using and abusing my authority, my position to red-tag these people or harass these women. No, I am supporting their advocacy,” Parlade added.

Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas accused Parlade of being “trolls who are red-tagging celebrities and other popular figures who speak up on women’s issues.”

“How come these macho-fascists have the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do? And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?” she said.

She added that “these rabid NTF-ELCAC executives are using their rehashed script to discredit Gabriela Women’s Party despite our long track record of advocating women’s rights.”

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Gilbert Gabay said Parlade was merely reminding the public and celebrities not to fall victim to the agenda of communist recruitment.

Gabay noted that it is good to voice out sentiments, but warned against bearing arms in the pursuit of advocacies.

Meanwhile, an official of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Parlade’s statements against Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray can be considered as harassment and red-tagging.

CHR commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana yesterday also noted that Soberano and Gray were merely speaking up for victims of gender-based violence and abuse.

“Coming from a high-ranking military official, such statement is a form of suppression and restriction that serves to dissuade those who speak up for their beliefs and advocacies,” Gana said.

Instead of perpetuating fear and attacking those who speak up for the voiceless, she said government officials, especially the security sector, must focus on promoting the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people.

“All Filipinos, celebrities and everyday folks alike, have the right to express their beliefs and convictions and to participate in activities in line with these beliefs. The Constitution guarantees our freedom of thought, expression and participation. As a democratic society, everyone has the freedom to advocate and support a cause, free from any intimidation or harassment,” Gana added.

In a statement posted on the Facebook page of NTF-ELCAC, Parlade warned Soberano that she may end up getting killed like activist Josephine Lapira if she continues her engagement with Gabriela.

Lapira died in clash between the military and NPA members in Batangas in 2017.

In the same statement, he also warned Gray not to follow the path taken by a certain Ella Colmenares (Locsin), a sister of actress Angel Locsin who supposedly joined the underground in Quezon.

Locsin denied the allegations made by Parlade about her and her sister. – Edu Punay, Janvic Mateo

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