Coming to the defense of celebrity Liza Soberano, the Gabriela Women’s Party criticized National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr for indirectly red-tagging the Filipino actress.
In a statement on Wednesday, October 21, Parlade appealed to the public to stop the red-tagging of Soberano, saying it was “not fair to her” as she is “not yet” part of communists’ military arm the New People’s Army (NPA).
In the same appeal, Parlade also urged Soberano to withdraw her support of Gabriela, warning her that she might end up getting killed.
Soberano earlier called on women and influencers to use their voice in raising awareness on issues involving women and children during Gabriela Youth’s webinar titled Mga Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voices on the International Day of the Girl Child held on Tuesday, October 13.
A day later, #BoycottLizaSoberano trended on Twitter as internet trolls went to work in discrediting the actress.
Gabriela pointed out that Parlade had ended up red-tagging Soberano in his statement due to his “malicious” association of the actress with the NPA, calling his appeal “starkly ironic.”
“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 all the victims of gender-based violence and abuse,” the group said.
“It is clear that Parlade, the NTF-ELCAC and the paid trolls are the ones who are rabidly red-tagging Liza Soberano and other female celebrities and influencers who are taking a stand and speaking out…. Why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?” added Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representative Arlene Brosas.
She also questioned how officials such as Parlade have the “audacity to mansplain strong women and tell them what to do.”
Brosas added that NTF-ELCAC is red-tagging Gabriela to discredit the group despite their 20 years of advocating for women and children’s rights.
Meanwhile, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) urged Parlade to retract his statement and apologize to Soberano, Brosas, and Gabriela’s Women Party as Parlade’s comment was a “plain and simple” way of intimidation and red-tagging.
“We support Liza Soberano’s right to speak out and engage with causes and advocacies. Freedom of expression, speech, and redress are all constitutional rights that must be defended against the vilest of attacks,” CAP Secretary-General Lisa Ito said.
Akbayan Partylist, through its Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales, slammed Parlade in turn for his description of the political party as a “good left group,” calling it a “crude attempt at false flattery to sow political intrigue and justify the red-tagging of government critics.”
“Thanks, but no thanks. General Parlade’s false praise of my political party will not justify his foolish red-tagging of government critics. Not at our expense. We don’t need his fake and dangerous compliment,” Rosales said.
“Despite the military’s multi-billion intel fund, the General’s lack of knowledge about the Philippine left is laughable and disturbing. Akbayan is democratic socialist. It was never communist. We are already in the digital age, General Parlade. A simple internet search of Akbayan will provide you the right information. Google-google din minsan, General,” she added.
Aside from the these 3 groups, many Filipinos on social media slammed Parlade for his remarks against Soberano, which they said were tantamount to a death threat – from no less than a uniformed official tasked to protect his countrymen.
Soberano’s legal counsel Atty. Jun Lim denounced the red-tagging of the actress as well and added that “her love and respect for women and children is her personal advocacy.”
Lim said that Soberano “remains to be apolitical” and does not take any sides with others’ political views.
He also called on everyone involved “to be circumspect” in associating Soberano with any political beliefs. – Rappler.com