Senate panel to probe red-tagging of celebs in November

Published October 29, 2020, 9:16 AM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate national defense and security committee will conduct a public hearing on the red-tagging by the military of entertainment celebrities and a militant organization after resuming regular session on Nov. 9.


Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman, said that his committee would act on the issue a few days after his Senate Resolution 559 has been read during the Senate regular session and referred to his committee.

Lacson, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said  invited to the hearing are the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership and the Department of National Defense (DND), including Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.

‘’We will also invite Gabriela and other militant groups para maliwanagan natin saan nag-uugat ang misunderstanding and conflict pagdating sa red-tagging and red-baiting etc.,’’ he said. 

(…to clear the air on the genesis of the current misunderstanding and conflict on red-tagging and red-baiting, among others)

The red-tagging controversy arose from the advice of Parlade to entertainment celebrity Liza Soberano to distance herself from Gabriela lest she would suffer the same fate as that of a female university student.

He pointed out that the female student, a suspected member of Gabriela, died during a recent anti-insurgency operation in Batangas.

Lacson said Parlade’s advice was sound but it took a different meaning when he added the possibility of Liza dying if she does not dissociate her affection for the causes of Gabriela.

As a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Lacson said those seeking to join the military or foreign service undergo neuro-psychological test. Failure to pass this test means disqualification, he added.

The Lacson resolution stated that hearing is needed on the issue of ‘’red-tagging of certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations with the end in view of crafting guidelines that will prevent misunderstanding between the public and the military and ensuring the protection of the constitutional right of the people, thereby strengthening the confidence and trust of our people on the professionalism of our military in consonance with the constitutional edict that the AFP is the protector of the people and the State and that civilian authority at all times supreme over the military.’’

Asked if his committee would invite celebrities to the public hearing, Lacson said: ‘’No.’’

Lacson said groups could attend.

Presence of celebrities might cause a distraction during the hearing, he said.