Senate President Vicente C. Sotto on Saturday, Oct. 24, agreed with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that persons who disagreed with the advice of a ranking Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officer to stay away from supposed leftist groups should present evidence to the contrary.
To be neutral about it, according to Sotto, the statement made by Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. to entertainment celebrity Liza Soberano not to engage with Gabriela was not an accusation but an “advice.’’
To human rights advocates, the statement “red-tagged” Ms Soberano and 2018 Miss Universe Katriona Gray who they said were only expressing their opinions on women issues.
Sotto said that based on reports, Parlade only gave an advice and that it is his opinion and “you can take it with a grain of salt or not.”
Parlade reportedly gave the advice based on information that he reportedly had at that time, Sotto added.
‘’Ngayon, tama yung sinasabi ni General Lorenzana, kung minamasama ng ibang tao yung warning sa kanila, or hindi maganda yung pagsabi nila na parang nirered-tag kung sabihin nga ng iba, eh di present the evidence, bakit mo nasabi yun. Ganoon lang kasimple yun. Tama yung sinabi ni Secretary Lorenzana (General Lorenzana was right. If people did not like the warning (given by Parlade) or the way it was said as if she was being red-tagged, then they present their evidence. That is how it is. Secretary Lorenzana was right),” he explained.
Queried on whether or not people might be more afraid of the Anti-Terror Law because of the Soberano affair, Sotto said it is only people who have not read the law who should be afraid.
“Terrorist ka ba? Kumakampi ka ba sa mga terrorists? Kung hindi ang sagot mo sa mga yun, bakit mo aalalahanin? Ngayon, kung kumakampi ka sa mga terrorist, talagang may problema ka sa anti-terror law,’’ he said. (Are you a terrorist? Do you support terrorists? If your answer is no, what do you care? Now, if you are a confederate of terrorists, then you have a problem with the Anti-Terror law),” he said.
Earlier, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros vowed that she would ask Parlade hard questions when he appears before the bicameral Commission on Appointments (CA) for confirmation when he is promoted to a higher rank.
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 like movie actress Angel Locsin has done.
Parlade was quoted as warning Soberano not to continue to support Gabriela or she might end up 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 the New People’s Army (NPA) in Nasugbu, Batangas in 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.