Senator Risa Hontiveros, a human rights advocate, today warned Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. that she would make his life difficult when he returns to the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation of any appointment to a higher rank at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The lady legislator made the vow after Parlade allegedly ‘’threatened’’ and ‘’harassed’’ entertainment celebrity Liza Soberano and 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray for reportedly supporting Gabriela and other rights groups just as movie actress Angel Locsin has done.
Parlade was quoted as warning Soberano not to continue to support Gabriela or she might die like activist Josephine ‘’Jo’’ Lapira, the 22-year-old student from UP Manila who was killed in a clash between government troops and members of the New People’s Army (NPA), the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Nasugbu, Batangas in November 2017.
‘’Liza Soberano, there’s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira,’’ Parlade said.
Parlade is the commander of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command.
The press statement of Hontiveros follows:
‘’Lt. General Parlade, when you sat in front of me during your appointment hearing, you were like a lamb.
‘’I gave you the benefit of the doubt during your promotion hearing because I believed that, just like my late husband Frank, you abide by the motto of the PMA (Philippine Military Academy): courage, integrity and loyalty.
‘’Huwag mong gamitin ang kapangyarihan mo bilang heneral upang takutin at pagbantaan ang mga kababaihang ito. Your threats and harassment are unacceptable. By silencing them, pinapalampas mo ang karahasan, panggagahasa at pang-aabuso na nararanasan ng napakaraming Pilipino. This is a shame to your rank and to the PMA. (Don’t use your power as a general to threaten and warn these women. By silencing them, you allow violence, rape and abuse that many Filipinos suffer.)
‘’I started as a young advocate for women’s rights, and married a military man and raised a family of four with him.
‘’We betray the integrity of our military, and especially our women and children by allowing abuses of power like this to happen.
‘’We will not forget this. Tatandaan ko ang lahat ng mga ito at paghandaan mo ang susunod natin paghaharap sa Commission on Appointments. Hindi ko ito kayang palampasin. (Remember all these and I would be prepared when you appear before the CA. I would not let this incident pass by,)
‘’See you in the next round.’’
To Liza and Catriona, Hontiveros has this to say:
‘’It is difficult and painful to be at the frontlines fighting beside persons oppressed by a norm that advocates rape, murder, and exploitation. But every time you speak up, another girl becomes braver and another life is saved. I’m behind you every step of the way.
‘’This is your constitutional right; don’t be afraid. Patuloy niyo lang panindigan ang karapatan ninyong magsalita. Kasama niyo ako at karamihan sa ating mamamayan. I salute and embrace you.’’ (Go ahead and exercise your right of freedom of speech. I and most of our countrymen are with you.)