Senate panel to probe alleged red-tagging of celebrities: Lacson

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2020 02:17 PM | Updated as of Oct 28 2020 08:47 PM

Sen. Panfilo Lacson raises a point during the deliberation on the extension of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act at the Philippine Senate on June 1, 2020. Joseph Vidal, Senate PRIB/file

MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said he has filed a resolution to investigate alleged red-tagging incidents involving some military officials.

Officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., and members of the Gabriela Women's Party will be summoned to the Senate to discuss the issue, Lacson told reporters during a virtual press conference.

"Para malaman natin saan ba nag-uugat ang conflict pagdating sa red tagging, red baiting, etc," said Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.

(So that we can find out the root cause of red tagging, red baiting, etc.)

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., who heads the AFP Southern Luzon Command and acts as spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), earlier drew flak for threatening Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, and Kapamilya actresses Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin over their supposed association with alleged front organizations of the communist movement after the three celebrities spoke in support of women's rights.

The three, however, will not be invited to the Senate hearing, Lacson said.

"Ayaw naman natin i-disrupt [ang hearing]," he said.

(We don't want to disrupt the hearing.)

"'Pag in-invite natin, baka mawala yung focus sa issue. Baka mapunta sa celebrities," he said.

(If we invite them, the focus might be diverted from the issue. It might be shifted to the celebrities.)

PARLADE 'OVERANALYZES, OVERTALKS'

Lacson did not say if NTF-ELCAC officials would be reprimanded over their pronouncements against celebrities who are vocal about their advocacies, but said that Parlade needs to have "a bit of prudence."

"Ang problema (The problem is) he overanalyzes and he overtalks," said Lacson, whose committee has oversight powers over the military.

"Yung kaniyang message kay Liza Soberano, sabi niya hindi niya nire-red tag. Sinabihan niya lang na mag-ingat ka. But then, he said, baka mapatay ka," Lacson said.

(His message to Liza Soberano was that, he is not red tagging her. He said he was just telling her to take caution. But then, he said she might be killed.)

"Maraming implication 'pag sinabing baka mapatay ka," said the senator who is a former chief of the Philippine National Police.

(There are a lot of implications when you tell a person that she might be killed.)

Parlade should also stop warning people that they are under surveillance, said Lacson.

"It defeats the purpose of surveillance... Even under the Anti-Terrorism Act kailangan pa din ng court authorization [for surveillance]," said Lacson, a principal sponsor of the anti-terror law which Parlade has been saying government could use against armed communists.

"'Yung physical surveillance, 'yung sinusundan-sundan mo lang, hindi kailangan ng court order dun. Pero wag mo i-announce," he added.

Military officials need to have some "polishing" when talking about issues related to the Anti-Terrorism Act, which is being questioned before the Supreme Court, the senator said.

"Nandiyan naman yung batas. Pag-aralan nilang mabuti para hindi naman sila nako-confuse at nabubutasan tuloy na may problema 'yung batas."

(The law is there. They should study it thoroughly so that they won't be confused and so that the law will not appear problematic or riddled with loopholes.)

Lacson plans to start the investigation a week after Senate resumes session on Nov. 9.

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