It is unnecessary, it is wrong, and it is unjust. Let these women speak up on the advocacies and causes that are close to their hearts—it is their right.
When news broke that Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. threatened Kapamilya stars Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray, many Filipinos immediately came to their defense. The attacks against Liza came after she spoke at a Gabriela Youth webinar called, Mga Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voices on the International Day of the Girl Child.
The military official said that if Liza continued to support Gabriela, she would die like activist Josephine “Jo” Lapira, the 22-year-old student from UP Manila who was killed in a clash between government troops and suspected members of NPA in Batangas.
Liza’s legal counsel Jun Lim released yesterday, October 22, a statement stating that the actress “expressing her love and respect for women and children [has been] her personal advocacy,” and urged the authorities “to be circumspect” in associating Liza with any political beliefs.
Much like how Liza was red-tagged by the military, Catriona Gray also received the same threats from the said official. “The choice is yours Liza, and so with you Catriona. Don’t follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this,” he alleged.
Catriona’s legal counsel, Atty. Joji Alonso responded stating that “dragging Catriona’s name when all she has endeavored to do, is to advocate for women’s rights, is completely uncalled for. [She] will not waiver in continuously championing social causes that uplift women’s lives.”
Why It Must Be Stopped
‘This is a shame to your rank and to the Philippine Military Academy,” Senator Risa Hontiveros blasts Parlade after hearing the news. And that’s unarguably true. Both the police and military should always serve and protect its constituents; not threat and mum the rights of the people.
As a democratic society, everyone has the freedom to advocate and support a cause, express their beliefs as well as participate in activities they hold close to their hearts—whether they are known personalities or not. The reason why this is problematic is that Parlade, being a member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, can easily dissuade those who speak up for their beliefs and advocacies. Hence, it restricts and could very well end up becoming a form of suppression.
Once red-tagging and even mansplaining (at the very least) becomes more frequent for the police, wherein activists, communists, terrorists are all alike, therefore becoming threats to national security, more and more innocent lives could be in danger.
According to Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, Liza was only voicing her truth regarding women’s rights. “Hindi terorismo ang paglaban sa abuso. Be a Liza Soberano in this country being led by macho-fascist officials. We call on more public personalities to use their platforms to promote human rights, something that is badly needed today amidst the many forms of violence being promoted by the highest officials of the land.”
Actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin also posted on her Instagram reiterating she is not a communist, more so a terrorist. “To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group. Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group. Nanawagan po ako sa kinauukulan, na itama po ang mali na ito. Tigilan na po ang red tagging. The statement made is utterly false and places ordinary citizens like us, those who they swore to protect, in danger.”
“By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked. Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether,” Angel adds. “And so, I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety but also the safety of my sister and our family.”
So, in the long run, such an insubstantial basis to accuse innocent people like Liza, Catriona, and even Angel can also apply to all of us. That once you are associated with these groups, even if you’re not really part of such a thing may lead to death, if not, send you to jail. This must be stopped simply because it is wrong. We humbly ask the authorities to be more deliberate and cautious.