Lacson wants Senate probe on red-tagging

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    SEN. Panfilo Lacson yesterday called for a Senate investigation on the red-tagging of a military official of celebrities and organizations.

    Lacson filed Senate Resolution 559 which he said is aimed at crafting guidelines that will ensure the protection and constitutional rights of the people, after Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. posted online an apparently offending message against actress Liza Soberano and Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas last October 21.

    Parlade is chief of the Southern Luzon Command and spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict.

    Many quarters, including some legislators, criticized Parlade after warning Soberano and Gray against further working with the Gabriela, saying they may end up with the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

    “This controversial message resulted in a public outcry over Lt. Gen. Parlade’s seeming ‘red-tagging’ of the celebrity and of other public figures such as fellow actress Angel Locsin and beauty queen Catriona Gray who are also vocal about airing their advocacies and supporting several human rights groups,” Lacson said in the resolution.

    Citing a dissenting opinion from Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, Lacson said red-tagging individuals is a strategy used by state agents, which “has been a persistent and powerful threat to civil society and freedom of expression.”

    Lacson said while he recognizes the outstanding performance of Parlade in fighting insurgents for years, the senior military officer must still “exercise prudence and self-discipline in making public pronouncements that may be misconstrued as a policy of the State.”

    He said that two months ago, AFP chief Gen. Gilbert Gapay also figured in a controversy when he suggested that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 should regulate the use of social media, an idea that did not sit well with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. – With Victor Reyes