MANILA - An official of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Wednesday warned actress Liza Soberano on her ties with Gabriela Youth after she participated in a women’s rights online talk.
In a statement posted on the NTF-ELCAC Facebook page, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. said Soberano "is not an NPA" because she is merely advocating for women's rights.
Parlade, however, also told Soberano to cut her ties with Gabriela Youth.
"Let us not red-tag Liza Soberano. It's not fair to her. She is merely supporting advocacy for women's rights. She has to be protected in the exercise of her rights. Is she an NPA? No, of course not. Not yet. So let's help educate her and the other celebrity targets of Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA), the Underground Mass Organization hiding under Gabriela Women's Party," he claimed.
"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 @ELLA, former Deputy Secretary General of Gabriela Youth of UP, Manila and defender of women's rights, even against sexual predators amongst her comrades in the NPA unit she joined which is clearly stated in her handwritten letter addressed to a certain @EMIL," he claimed.
Parlade, likewise, issued a similar warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray.
"The choice is yours Liza. And so with you Catriona. Don't follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares (Locsin) took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this," he alleged.
Reacting to the statement, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas blasted Parlade for red-tagging and "mansplaining" Soberano, even after he urged the public not to do so.
"Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade’s appeal to stop red-tagging Liza Soberano is starkly ironic because he actually red-tagged Soberano in his same statement. By saying that Soberano is 'not yet an NPA,' he is maliciously associating the actress with the armed movement when what she did in the youth forum was to only speak up for all the victims of gender-based violence and abuse," Brosas said in a statement.
"It is clear that Parlade, the NTF-ELCAC and the paid trolls are the ones who are rabidly red-tagging Liza Soberano and other female celebrities and influencers who are taking a stand and speaking out against the macho-fascism under the Duterte regime. How come these macho-fascists have the audacity to mansplain strong women and lecture them on what to do? And why do they seem so afraid of women using their platform to defend other women?" she added.
The online firestorm came after Soberano joined a Gabriela Youth online forum as one of the special guests discussing issues that girls and young women are facing in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriela lauded Soberano's courage against gender-based violence.
Brosas also paid tribute to Soberano’s commitment to women’s rights.
"Hindi terorismo ang paglaban sa abuso (Fighting abuse is not terrorism). Be a Liza Soberano in this country being led by macho-fascist officials. We call on more public personalities to use their platforms to promote human rights, something that is badly needed today amidst the many forms of violence being promoted by the highest officials of the land.”