Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on October 25, 2020, said Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr., Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) chief, was merely warning celebrities on the risk of joining front-groups or organizations of communist terrorists.
This, according to Lorenzana when asked by reporters on whether he had already talked with Parlade, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), earlier got the flak for advising actress Liza Soberano to abdicate her ties with Gabriela Youth after she participated in a webinar with the group last week.
“Me and Gen. Parlade had a talk about the red-tagging accusations by the front-organizations. Gen. Parlade said that what he meant was to warn and caution these celebrities in joining or advocating fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF, which Gabriela is one,” Lorenzana said in a message to reporters, referring to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.
“Just to be clear we were not the ones who red-tagged them. It was (CPP founder) Jose Maria Sison himself who identified them as fronts of the CPP-NPA-NDF. To accuse us (military and police) of red-tagging them in the face of Sison’s admission is the height of naïveté,” Lorenzana added.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
Lorenzana added that he cautioned Parlade from red-tagging anybody without evidence.
“Associating with Gabriela, per se, does not mean a person advocates and supports its ideology. Therefore, it is our duty to forewarn them less they fall into a trap,” he added.
He said he has directed the SolCom chief to continue with what he is doing with “some caveats” as not to unnecessarily include or accuse innocent people who are well-meaning and want to do good things for others.
“Lastly, thru their lawyer, the family of Ms. Liza Soberano has expressed its thanks and appreciation to the AFP/PNP, for warning and defending Liza from these front organizations,” Lorenzana said.
Parlade, who was accused by some sectors of red-tagging the actress, earlier said he was only warning and informing Soberano and Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray, on the nature of Gabriela.
“On Liza and Catriona, he (Parlade) was only making them aware of the nature of Gabriela that it is a front of a terrorist organization. Our basis is (Proclamation) 374 s. 2017 (which)declares the CPP-NPA-NDF as a terror organization,” Lorenzana added.
Earlier, the NTF ELCAC clarified that it is not red-tagging celebrities Soberano and Gray but only reminding the two women to be wary of the groups that they are getting in touch with.
In a recent radio interview, lawyer Marlon Bosantog, NTF ELCAC legal cooperation cluster spokesperson, said role models like celebrities and showbiz personalities may give a sense of legitimacy to the advocacies being pushed forward by leftist organizations such as the Gabriela Youth.
Soberano recently participated in and was one of the speakers in an event led by Gabriela.
Bosantog, also Director for Legal Affairs of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), said Parlade did not red-tag Soberano nor Gray when he called out their attention.
“Gen. Parlade did not red-tag Liza and Catriona, what he was saying was that the organizations getting in touch with them are leftist organizations and are allies of the CPP-NPA-NDF like the Gabriela Youth that invited Liza Soberano, taking advantage of her popularity so they could recruit or give a sense of legitimacy to their advocacy,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“They were not red-tagged by saying that they are members of the CPP-NPA-NDF because that is red-tagging when someone says that you are a member but he did not say that,” he added. (Priam Nepomuceno, PNA)