We laud President Duterte for calling on the military to stop tagging certain individuals as communists or terrorists without enough evidence.
In his last Cabinet meeting, the President sided with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana who censured Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade after the general, who heads the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), warned three well-known celebrities from allegedly involving themselves in the activities of Gabriela, a militant women’s rights group.
The three are 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray and movie stars Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin.
It is indeed unthinkable for Soberano, Locsin and Gray, three of the loveliest faces in Philippine cinema, to get involved in the communist insurgency in the country.
In fairness to Gen. Parlade he did not tag the three as communists or even communist sympathizers. He was only warning them to be cautious lest they fall prey to communist propaganda.
According to Parlade, his comments were directed not on the remarks made by Soberano but on the forum where she made the remarks: an online discussion on the rights of women and girls organized by Gabriela.
Parlade tagged Locsin’s non-showbiz sister Ella Colmenares as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army which the actress vehemently denied.
Even then it would have been prudent for the good general to withhold comments on such a delicate matter because he would be misunderstood and, indeed he has been subjected to criticisms by various groups on social media.
In the 70s, two beauty queens, Nelia Sancho and Maita Gomez, actually joined the NPA and fought against government forces. But it was a different milieu because the Filipino people at that time were subjected to wholesale abuses committed under the Marcos dictatorship.
Today, we are in another era. After the EDSA uprising, we have regained our right to speak on issues that concern us. And nobody, not even the generals, can stop us.
So, stop the red-tagging. If the military believes that it has the goods against anybody, regardless of whether he or she is a celebrity, then file the necessary charges in courts.