The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has slammed the warning made by Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. to actress Liza Soberano and 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray in relation to their support for women’s group Gabriela, saying that it is a “form of suppression.”
Parlade warned Soberano on Tuesday that she might suffer from the same fate as activist Josephine “Jo” Lapira, the 22-year-old UP Manila student who was killed in a clash between members of the New People’s Army and government troops in Batangas back in 2017, if she continues her ties with Gabriela.
“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,” he said.
“The choice is yours, Liza. And so with you, Catriona,” he added.
Parlade on Friday denied red-tagging Soberano and Gray and refused to apologize despite public uproar, but Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana said that his remarks are “tantamount to harassment and red-tagging.”
“Coming from a high-ranking military official, such a statement is a form of suppression and restriction that serves to dissuade those who speak up for their beliefs and advocacies,” she said.
Pimentel-Gana added that Soberano and Gray only want to advocate for the rights of women, especially victims of abuse. Instead of “attacking” those who seek to empower these vulnerable members of society, the CHR said government authorities should focus on serving and protecting them.
What Parlade did, according to Pimentel-Gana, was “perpetuating fear and instigating distrust” among those who want to speak the truth and defend the weak and the voiceless.
“All Filipinos, celebrities and everyday folks alike, have the right to express their beliefs and convictions and to participate in activities in line with these beliefs,” she said.
“The Constitution guarantees our freedom of thought, expression, and participation. As a democratic society, everyone has the freedom to advocate and support a cause, free from any intimidation or harassment.”