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Defense chief convenes gab on Red-tagging

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. for a meeting regarding the "brouhaha" over celebrities being linked to leftist groups.

At the sidelines of an event in the Philippine Army, Lorenzana said aside from Parlade, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon was also expected to attend the meeting that he would convene.

As regards the Commission on Human Rights, the body said Parlade's warning to celebrities Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray was seen as "tantamount to harassment and red-tagging."

According to Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, the CHR was "deeply concerned" with Parlade's remark on Soberano and Gray, who are both championing women's rights.

Parlade, commander of the military's Southern Luzon Command, has warned Soberano against keeping ties with Gabriela Women's Party, which the military has linked to communist rebels, after the actress participated in a webinar organized by the group.

Parlade gave the same warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, a vocal critic of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

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

In a Facebook post, Parlade claimed Soberano could suffer the fate of UP student Josephine Lapira, killed in a firefight between government troops and suspected New People's Army rebels in Nasugbu, Batangas in November 2017.

Pimentel-Gana reminded Parlade that the Constitution guaranteed the Filipino's freedom of thought, expression, and participation.

“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,” Pimentel-Gana said.

She said: “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.

"Instead of attacking those who seek to empower the voiceless, perpetuating fear and instigating distrust among the populace against those who speak truth to power in defense of the weak and the voiceless, we are reminding government officials — especially the security sector tasked to serve and protect the people — to focus on promoting the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people.

Topics: Delfin Lorenzana , Antonio Parlade Jr. , Hermogenes Esperon , Commission on Human Rights
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