MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte wants the police and military to "keep quiet" while doing their job, Malacañang said Monday, after a general cautioned some female celebrities about their alleged association with some left-leaning organizations.
Duterte "has spoken through [Defense] Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when he warned police and military authorities to be very careful in red-tagging," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
Lorenzana earlier told government troops to "proceed with surveillance" on suspected communists and file charges if they found evidence, Roque told reporters.
"Ang suggestion nga ni Secretary Lorenzana is no need to publicize kung sinong mga suspected communist; just do their job without publicity. Keep quiet," he said. "Iyan po ang polisiya na sinabi ni Secretary Lorenzana, which he made for and in behalf of the President."
(Secretary Lorenzana's suggestion is, there is no need to publicize who the suspected communists are... That is the policy that Secretary Lorenzana said.)
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr. recently warned actress Liza Soberano that she could end up getting killed if she continued supporting the women’s group Gabriela, which he accused of being involved in the communist insurgency.
“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,” Parlade said in a statement.
Lapira, a University of the Philippines-Manila student, was killed in an encounter between state forces and suspected members of New People’s Army in Nasugbu, Batangas in November 2017.
Parlade made the same threat to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, and also alleged that the actress Angel Locsin’s sister was involved in the underground movement.
On Sunday, Lorenzana told reporters he "cautioned (Parlade) from red-tagging anybody without evidence," and said "associating with Gabriela, per se, does not mean a person advocates and supports its ideology."
"I directed Gen. Parlade to continue what he is doing with some caveats so as not to unnecessarily include or accuse innocent people who are well meaning and want to do good things for others," the defense chief said.
Amid the spate of red-tagging reports a few months back, the Commission on Human Rights, in a statement in May, reminded the government that the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 meant that being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines is no longer illegal.
"The challenge before those who accuse is to prove allegations of any illegal act before fair and competent courts," CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia had said.