Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray to sustain pro-women advocacy 'without fear' despite red-tagging issue

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Actress Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — Actress Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray will not stop from lobbying for women's rights and welfare despite being caught in the middle of a red-tagging controversy among the military. 

"I’m very happy that it would appear that the government, the AFP is very responsive to the calls or communications of the civilian sector. Liza knows that the interviewer is Gabriela Youth, but she is not aware that Gabriela Youth is under the radar of the AFP of some sort," her lawyer Juanito Lim told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday.

He said he informed the actress that he has reached out to Parlade to extend his thanks and to share their take on the hot issue.

"We take note of the general’s advice, unsolicited as it may be. However, we would like everyone to note that Ms. Soberano will continue to exercise her constitutionally-protected right to free speech and expression without fear and restraint from anyone," he added, saying that the actress will remain steadfast in her calls for "respect for women and children."

​ABS-CBN and Star Magic also issued a joint statement, saying the Kapamilya talent speaks out against violations of women's right using "her own voice," and that she should not be red-tagged in doing so.

The network also backed Angel Locsin, who was tagged to be an armed rebel recruit.

READ: Angel Locsin tells military official: Difference in opinion does not give you the right to 'red tag,' endanger lives

Parlade released a statement on Wednesday appealing to the public against red-tagging the 22-year-old actress, saying she was "not yet" a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines despite joining and speaking during a Gabriela webinar earlier this week.

He also dragged Gray into the warning, saying the choice is hers to distance from such groups.

The beauty queen through her lawyer Joji Alonso said getting dragged into this week's callout was "completely uncalled for."

"Catriona will not waver in continuously championing social causes that uplift women's lives," Alonso said in a statement.

"While there may be people who will try, she remains steadfast in her stance that no one should be silenced in sharing their personal stories that give strength and support to fellow women who have gone through similar experiences."

The spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) gave a warning to Soberano about joining the group, implying that she might get recruited as an armed rebel and may be caught in the crossfire with the military.

AFP chief Gilbert Gapay said separately that there was nothing wrong with the actress voicing out her advocacy on better treatment of women, but warned that she could be recruited by the CPP-NPA through Gabriela as a "front" organization.

"Kinaklaro lang namin na ang aming kliyente [we are just clarifying that our client] is apolitical. She respects the views of all groups," said Lim of the "Make It With You" actress.

Soberano has been more vocal on women's rights and even national issues on social media, including her dismay after government shut down ABS-CBN and denied it a franchise.

RELATED: Liza Soberano sues netizen for libel and threats over rape remark, says ABS-CBN

"The family has nothing to worry about in this red-tagging issue," Parlade said. "We understood each other that really, our intention of defending Liza Soberano is pure and simple."

Parlade added that he issued the statement last Wednesday to inform the public that Soberano's act to talk about women's rights is not a terrorist act by itself.

Lim said Soberano has not given any instructions to pursue legal action against those who have red-tagged her online.

READ: No apologies from Parlade for controversial statement on Liza Soberano despite censure from Defense chief