Since Gabriela Women's Party took a swipe at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. yesterday, Oct. 22, social media has been ablaze with the hashtag #STOPREDTAGGINGLIZA.
Politicians and netizens alike quickly seconded Gabriela's tweets, addressing Parlade's warnings for Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray as a "starkly ironic" and "malicious" way of red-tagging the actresses.
Senator Rissa Hontiveros, for one, condemned Parlade for using his authority as a military officer to threaten women. "This is ungentlemanly and a shame to your rank & to the PMA [Philippine Military Academy]," she said.
Hontiveros went on to commend Soberano and Gray for speaking out on behalf of the oppressed women in the country. "This is your constitutional right; don't be afraid. Patuloy niyo lang panindigan and karapatan niyong magsalita. Kasama niyo ako at karamihan sa rating mamamayan. I salute and embrace you," she concluded.
Lt Gen Parlade, huwag niyong gamitin ang kapangyarihan niyo bilang heneral upang takutin at pagbantaan ang mga kababaihang ito.— risa hontiveros (@risahontiveros) October 22, 2020
This is ungentlemanly and a shame to your rank & to the PMA.@lizasoberano & @catrionaelisa
This is your right. Keep being brave.
FULL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/FGJcVmOhlE
In a series of tweets, Senator Kiko Pangilinan pointed out Parlade's failure to fulfill his duty as a "protector, not oppressor" of the Filipino people. He also coined Parlade's statements as "baseless" and "unprofessionnal."
"Ano ba ‘yan? Nakipagkwentuhan lang si @lizasoberano, binantaan na ng kamatayan. Siya na nga ang binastos at binantaan ng rape, tatakutin pa? The military's red-tagging of actress @lizasoberano, former Miss Universe @catrionaelisa Gray, actress @143redangel, and other activists is baseless and endangers their lives and security," he said.
The senator continued, "Ayon sa Saligang Batas, ang Armed Forces of the Philippines ang magtatanggol sa taumbayan, hindi maniniil. Protector, not oppressor. These threatening statements are uncalled for and unprofessional and should be called out."
"Advocates and progressives must not be mistaken for communists and terrorists. They speak to express and to empower. Paano naman naging komunista si @lizasoberano e nagtatanong lang siya tungkol sa mga abuso na nararanasan ng ating mga kabataan at kababaihan? Hindi krimen ang magpahayag ng opinyon kung paano mapabuti ang Pilipinas," he added.
Advocates and progressives must not be mistaken for communists and terrorists. They speak to express and to empower. Paano naman naging komunista si @lizasoberano e nagtatanong lang siya tungkol sa mga abuso na nararanasan ng ating mga kabataan at kababaihan?— Kiko Pangilinan (@kikopangilinan) October 22, 2020
GMA-7 star Jasmine Curtis-Smith also extended her support for the ABS-CBN stars. She remarked, "Keep going! THIS IS NEEDED."
I stand with Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Angel Locsin, and Gabriela.
To all those speaking up for the rights and welfare of women and girls (or anyone else!), keep on going!!! THIS IS NEEDED. #DefendFilipinoWomen— Jasmine (@jascurtissmith) October 22, 2020
Same as Curtis-Smith, other netizens lauded the actresses for "speaking up for the rights and welfare of women and girls."
I stand with Liza Soberano, Catriona Gray, Angel Locsin, Gabriela, and all women and girls who are speaking up for the rights and welfare of women and girls. We won't be silenced. We have the right to demand gender equality, and fight abuse and misogyny. Our voice matters!— Sarah Elago (@sarahelago) October 22, 2020
The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will. #STOPREDTAGGINGLIZA— ??????, ???? ✨ (@jaimeeccelestra) October 22, 2020
There were also some who unabashedly called Parlade's statement a death threat to Soberano. "So, her death is already pre determined? She's about women’s rights, not to rise up against the government," said one Twitter user.
@ParladeJr urged Liza Soberano to withdraw her support from women's group Gabriela, then warned her she'd end up getting killed.— Nemesystem (@Dear_Deadly) October 22, 2020
This is a threat to a hateful degree.
So, her death is already pre determined?
She's about women’s rights, not to rise up against the government. ?
Gabriel Women's Party also slammed Parlade for red-tagging Liza Soberano for the actress' support for Gabriela Youth. In a series of tweet, the group's representative Arlene Brosas stressed that his appeal to stop red-tagging Soberano was "tarkly ironic because he actually red-tagged Soberano in his same statement. By saying that Soberano is 'not yet an NPA.'"
She added, "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."
Palarde previously warned Soberano that her association with the movement could lead her to the "same fate" as Josephine Anne Lapira, a 22-year-old UP Manila student who died in an encounter between government troops and the communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Nasugbu, Batangas in 2017.
“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," Parlade said in a statement released on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Facebook page on October 20.
He added, "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. It's a pity she (Lapira) learned about nonsense things like nabbing a firearm, exploitation while already inside the underground. It was too late she is dead."
Soberano was first associated with Gabriela Youth when she led its webinar entitled "Mga Tinig ni Nene" where she discussed violence against women and girls, as well as other problems and injustices women encounter today.
Banner image from Kiko Pangilinan and Rissa Hontiveros on Facebook and @lizasoberano on Instagram.