Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday said he has called Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. for a meeting regarding the "brouhaha" over celebrities being linked to leftist groups.
At the sidelines of an event in the Philippine Army, Lorenzana said aside from Parlade, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon is also expected to attend the meeting that he would convene.
"I am convening a meeting with these people, si General Parlade, si General Esperon saka member ng ELCAC," Lorenzana said, referring to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
"Kasi ang vice chair ng ELCAC [ay] si Secretary Esperon eh, member lang ako doon. Because of this brouhaha na lumalaki, I think we should talk kung ano ba talaga ang magandang gawin," Lorenzana added.
Parlade came under fire Thursday after he cautioned actress Liza Soberano against having ties with Gabriela Women's Party, which the military has linked to communist rebels. His statement, which was posted on Facebook, also mentioned Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and actress Angel Locsin.
In response, Gabriela party-list Representative Arlene Brosas accused Parlade of "rabidly red-tagging" Soberano and other female celebrities who are taking a stand and speaking out against the "macho-fascism under the Duterte regime."
Sought to comment on this, Lorenzana said officials should not link a certain personality to Leftist groups if there is no evidence to support it.
"Ang thoughts ko diyan, kung wala kang ebidensya, do not talk about it. Huwag ka magpunta sa media, Facebook," he said.
Lorenzana said the although forming the NTF - ELCAC "is a very good idea," it should not recklessly link personalities to Leftist organizations.
"Dapat may ebidensya tayo bago mo sabihin na leftist 'yan, NPA (New Peoples Army) 'yan," he said. "Dapat may ebidensya tayo, otherwise, just keep quiet."
Parlade had already denied that he red-tagged Soberano. He also said he is not threatening women as he also advocates for their rights.
For Armed Forces chief General Gilbert Gapay, Parlade was just reminding the public, including celebrities, about the agenda of the Communist Party of the Philippines, noting that anyone could be a victim of the group.
"Ito namang statement ni General Parlade is a reminder to all that kasi anybody could be victims... from all walks of life, the vulnerable ones," Gapay told reporters in a separate interview.
"It's in line 'yung programa ng AFP on the shielding and protecting certain group of persons particularly vulnerable ones from the recruitment of the CPP-NPA," he added.
Gapay said there are other ways to promote one's yearnings for changes in society. Instigating violence, he said, is not among them.
"Totoo naman kasi 'to dahil we have encountered on many occasions, sadly 'yung iba namatay pa, these are students which are affiliated with the front organizations of the CPP-NPA, like Gabriela and other similar front organizations na tumawid doon sa NPA organization, naging kadre," Gapay said.
"Okay lang naman 'yun 'yung voice out of sentiments for the greater good of our society, but once you bear arms and you join the armed component of the CPP-NPA and you fight the government eh iba na 'yun, because we really prohibit 'yung armed, the use of violence in advancing changes in society," he added. --KBK, GMA News