Senators slam Parlade over warning vs. Liza Soberano

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 3) — Two senators on Tuesday criticized Lt. General Antonio Parlade over his recent statement where he warned celebrity Liza Soberano that she could end up dead if she continues to associate herself with a women’s rights group.

“You could have just issued a general statement,” Senator Grace Poe said during a Senate hearing on alleged red-tagging of certain personalities, addressing Parlade, spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which is fighting communist insurgency in the Philippines.

Poe’s advice stemmed from Parlade’s controversial statement posted last month on his personal account as well as on the NTF-ELCAC Facebook page.

When asked by Senator Ping Lacson, if he had red-tagged Soberano as well as Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and actress Angel Locsin, both of whom were also mentioned in his post, Parlade answered "No your honor. I did not."

“Liza Soberano, there’s still a chance to abdicate that group,” Parlade, Jr., said on Facebook on October 20, referring to Gabriela Youth. If not, Soberano could suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira, a Gabriela Youth member who died in an encounter with military forces three years ago, he said.

This was after Soberano participated in Gabriela Youth’s online event, in which she urged women to be vocal about different issues.

Parlade said in the same hearing he just issued the statement as people online are branding Soberano as a “communist” or “terrorist” after her appearance on the webinar.

In response, Poe said, “Maybe you could have just warned her to be careful. Or pwede sabihin sa netizens na hindi naman dahil salungat sa inyong pananaw ay terorista na.”

[Translation: Or you could have just told netizens that just because a personality has different views than them, it does not mean they are already a terrorist.]

For Lacson, saying that Soberano could possibly end up dead like Lapira if she does not cut ties with Gabriela “may sound like a threat” coming from Parlade. "Anyway, that is for future reference."

The military official also maintained that Locsin's sister Ella Colmenares was a member of the NPA in Quezon, with some former members of the organization backing him up during the hearing. Locsin had already denied this claim.