MANILA - Actress Angel Locsin and a military official sparred Friday after the latter accused Locsin's sister of having links to communist rebels.
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), claimed Ella Colmenares, Locsin's sister, was "part of the underground" and "operated in Quezon especially in Polillo Island."
He said Ella was even a nominee for Kabataan Party-list, but the group failed to win enough votes for her to land a seat in the House of Representatives.
"She’s now again doing legal work with Gabriela, recruiting members for Gabriela," he told ANC's Headstart.
This was swiftly refuted by Locsin, who said her sister is not part of any terrorist group.
"To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group. Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group," she said, referring to her sister Ella and nephew Neri Colmenares. The latter is an activist and human rights lawyer, and a former representative of the Bayan Muna party-list.
"By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked," she added. "Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether. And so I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety, but also the safety of my sister and our family."
Addressing Parlade's recent statement against her family, Locsin said: "Nanawagan po ako sa kinauukulan, na itama po ang mali na ito. Tigilan na po ang red-tagging. The statement made is utterly false and places ordinary citizens like us, those who they swore to protect, in danger."
She also urged the government to utilize public funds more efficiently.
"Nakakalungkot po isipin na dito napupunta ang malaking halaga na P19.3B, sa mga paratang na walang basehan at pananakot na red-tagging. Sana ibigay na lang po sa ibang departamento ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) katulad ng medical reserve corps o pagtaas ng sweldo at pension ng mga sundalo natin," the actress said.
"Malaking tulong rin po for purchasing vaccines or other COVID response programs. Many of our countrymen need financial assistance. Mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho. Madaming mas nangangailangan ng pera ngayon. Sana doon na lang ilaan at sana doon ibuhos ang oras," she added.
In the interview, Parlade recalled his earlier statement that he is sure Locsin and Bayan Muna Chairperson Neri Colmenares "will not tell" the young actress of the underground workings of the group and Ella's supposed involvement.
"Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares know this, of course. They’re not going to tell Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray or kung sinong celebrity d’yan. Of course itatago nila itong information na ito," he said.
He, however, said he is not red-tagging Locsin.
"That’s just informing the public that a member of the underground organization is also associated with, of course, her sister. That’s not red-tagging," he said.
In a post on Thursday evening, Ella said standing up for human rights does not make one a terrorist.
"Yes, I believe in the protection of women’s rights and human rights, the same advocacies that Angel and Neri fight for, but so do millions of Filipinos across the country. That doesn’t mean that I’m a member of the NPA as what is being claimed," she wrote.