Palace spokesman Harry Roque

Malacañang on Thursday said it saw no problems with Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray advocating for women’s rights, and claimed Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade only cautioned the celebrities from being used by leftist groups.

In a statement posted on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Facebook page, Parlade called on Soberano to “abdicate” her support for the women’s group Gabriela, and warned that she might get killed if she doesn’t.

“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,” he said.

He also warned Gray.

“The choice is yours, Liza. And so with you Catriona. Don’t follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares (Locsin) took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this,” he said.

Gabriela denounced Parlade’s statement, calling it “starkly ironic.”

“(Parlade’s) appeal to stop red-tagging Liza Soberano is starkly ironic because he actually red-tagged Soberano in his same statement. By saying that Soberano is ‘not yet an NPA,’ 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,” it said in a statement.

But according to Palace spokesman Harry Roque, Parlade only issued a warning.

“Pinag-iingatan lang nila sila na baka mamaya magamit sila ng left,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said.

“Ang issue po, iyong posibleng pagsasamantala ng mga komunista sa mga adbokasiya ng mga personalidad gaya ni Liza at ni Catriona. Pero wala po kaming problema doon sa mga sinasabi nila Liza at ni Catriona dahil ang ating presidente sinusulong din po ang karapatan ng kababaihan at malinaw po ang track record niya lalung-lalo na noong siya po ay mayor ng Davao City,” Roque added.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, a known women’s rights advocate, blasted Parlade for threatening the female celebrities.

“By silencing them, pinapalampas mo ang karahasan, panggagahasa at pangaabuso na nararanasan ng napakaraming Pilipino. This is a shame to your rank and to the (Philippine Military Academy),” Hontiveros said in a statement. John Ezekiel J. Hirro