Soberano not afraid of Parlade’s ‘unsolicited advice,’ says lawyer
MANILA, Philippines — Kapamilya actress Liza Soberano is not afraid of the statement of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. about her participation in an online seminar hosted by left-leaning Gabriela Youth, and will continue to exercise her right to free speech “without fear or restraint from anyone,” her lawyer said Friday.
“Liza is not afraid of this statement from Gen. Parlade. Though I must state that we take note of the general’s advice, unsolicited as it may sound,” Soberano’s legal counsel Atty. Juanito Lim Jr. said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“However, please know that Ms. Soberano will continue to exercise her constitutionally-protected right to free speech and expression without fear or restraint from anyone. I think I have to make that very clear right now,” Lim added.
Parlade recently issued a statement about Soberano’s guesting in an online seminar hosted by Gabriela Youth, where she urged the actress’ critics to stop red-tagging her as she is “not yet” part of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Parlade is the chief of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
However, critics perceived his statement as not a mere defense of Soberano, since he also seemed to have issued a veiled warning to the actress that she will “suffer the same fate” as Josephine Anne Lapira if she does not “abdicate” from the group.
Lapira, 22, was a student of the University of the Philippines-Manila who was killed in November 2017 in what the military reported as an encounter in Batangas province between government forces and NPA rebels.
But despite this, Lim said he does not sense any fear on Soberano on the military official’s remarks.
“To be candid, I don’t sense any fear on Liza on this matter. Because for one, there is nothing to be afraid about. Our client has not committed any wrong. What she did was merely express her views. That’s it. There is nothing to be afraid about,” he said.
As to the harm that other groups fear might befell red-tagged individuals, Lim said: “It might be a possibility but not in our case.”
“As any civilian would feel, being red-tagged might cause some sort of a chilling effect but going to this particular situation, we feel that there is nothing to worry about as far as Liza is concerned because as we have earlier stated, she has not committed any wrongdoing,” he added.
He even said that Parlade’s statement was only his opinion and that the military general even “clears the name” of the actress.
“That is the opinion of Gen. Parlade but if you look at the statement of Gen. Parlade, he also clears the name of our client, and I thank him for that because that is a fact. Liza is not a member of Gabriela Youth nor is she a member of cause-oriented or left-learning organizations. Liza remains apolitical,” Lim said.
“As a lawyer, I am trained to view things as they are objectively speaking. The statement of Gen. Parlade is an advice, a reminder, unsolicited as it may sound. However, I don’t feel there is a need to be afraid or to fear the statement of the good general. Again, we have not committed any mistake. Liza has not committed any mistake by expressing her views,” he added.