President Rodrigo Duterte wants security officials to refrain from accusing individuals as communists or terrorists without evidence, Malacañang said Monday after a high-ranking official drew flak for warning celebrities in joining alleged “communist fronts.”
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the Chief Executive wanted the military and police officers to fulfill their tasks privately and in accordance with the law.
“The President has spoken through Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when he warned both police and military authorities to be very careful in red-tagging. In fact, Secretary Lorenzana suggested that there is no need to publicize the names of suspected communists,” Roque said in a televised briefing.
“Just do their job without publicity. Keep quiet. That was the policy set by Secretary Lorenzana which he made for and on behalf of the President,” Roque added.
The Palace official’s remarks came after Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr. was heavily-criticized for discouraging actress Liza Soberano and former Miss Universe Catriona Gray from joining progressive group Gabriela. He claimed that women’s group Gabriela, particularly those nominated as party-list members, are allegedly connected with communists.
Parlade, who serves as spokesman for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), also wondered if Manila Mayor Isko Moreno welcomes terrorists in the country’s capital after the local executive ordered the removal of anti-terrorist tarpaulins in the city.
Lorenzana previously met with Parlade to discuss the controversies, saying he cautioned the official from red-tagging individuals without evidence.
“Associating with Gabriela, per se, does not mean a person advocates and supports its ideology. Therefore, it is our duty to forewarn them less they fall into a trap,” Lorenzana said.
“Meantime, I directed General 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,” he added.