Angel Locsin took to her Instagram Stories last Thursday, October 22, to respond to a military official who claimed that her sister, Ella Colmenares, was “underground” and working for the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Quezon province.
The actress’ response was short but sweet, posting a recent family photo celebrating the birthday of her brother, Angelo, which includes Ella, who can be seen second to the right.
“Happy birthday sa bunso namin,” she wrote. “With our controversial sister na nasa underground daw sa Quezon.”
By Friday, October 23, Angel took to Instagram for an even longer response, reiterating that neither her sister nor herself and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares, a relative of theirs, is part of the NPA.
“To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group,” she wrote “Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group.”
She went on, saying that the Philippines is a country where freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution. Under such, Filipinos have the right to have their own opinions, according to Angel.
“Kung mag kaiba tayo, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito. Hindi rin ako ‘red.’ Magkaiba lang tayo ng paniniwala.” she added.
She called on government officials to put an end to red-tagging, as it puts ordinary Filipino citizens to harm and danger.
Angel also expressed sadness that a national budget amounting to 19.3 billion goes into officials who red-tag instead of soldiers under the medical reserve corps or the salaries and pensions of other soldiers.
“Malaking tulong rin po for purchasing vaccines or other covid response programs. Many of our country men need financial assistance. Mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho. Madaming mas nangangailangan ng pera ngayon. Sana doon na lang ilaan at sana doon ibuhos ang oras,” she added.
The philanthropist also appealed to people to give support to the people who are being red-tagged by officials, such as Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray, simply because they are expressing their beliefs in a peaceful manner.
She concluded her statement by saying her reason for speaking up, because of “baseless and reckless” red-tagging that puts her family in danger.
“By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked. Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether. And so I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety, but also the safety of my sister and our family.” she said.
#NoToRedTagging #YesToRedLipstick 😅 To set the record straight, hindi po ako parte ng NPA or any terrorist group 😅. Neither my sister nor my kuya Neri is a part of the NPA or any terrorist group. We live in a country where our freedom to speak and express ourselves are enshrined and protected by the Constitution. May paniniwala ako, may paniniwala ka. At sa ilalim Ng Consitution, pareho tayong mayroon karapatan sa ating nga sariling paniniwala. Kung mag kaiba tayo, hindi ibig sabihin pwede mo na ako i-red tag. Hindi tayo magkakalaban dito. Hindi rin ako "red". Magkaiba lang tayo ng paniniwala. Nanawagan po ako sa kinauukulan, na itama po ang mali na ito. Tigilan na po ang red tagging. The statement made is utterly false and places ordinary citizens like us, those who they swore to protect, in danger. Nakakalungkot po isipin na dito napupunta ang malaking halaga na 19.3B, sa mga paratang na walang basehan at pananakot na red tagging. Sana ibigay na lang po sa ibang departamento ng AFP katulad ng medical reserve corps o pagtaas ng sweldo at pension ng mga sundalo natin. Malaking tulong rin po for purchasing vaccines or other covid response programs. Many of our country men need financial assistance. Mga OFW na nawalan ng trabaho. Madaming mas nangangailangan ng pera ngayon. Sana doon na lang ilaan at sana doon ibuhos ang oras. I am also appealing to everyone to express support for those being red-tagged like Liza Soberano, Catriona Grey, and all the others just because they are expressing their beliefs peacefully By being vocal about my opinions and advocacies, I have always been attacked. Those I could ignore but this is a different level altogether. And so I have to speak up once again because this baseless and reckless red-tagging jeopardizes not only my safety, but also the safety of my sister and our family. 💋
This comes after Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., an official of the government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), released a statement, warning actress Liza Soberano on having ties with the Gabriela Youth, whom the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) deems as a left-leaning organization.
It could be recalled last October 13 when Liza spoke in a webinar organized by the women’s group to call upon influencers to use their platforms to voice out on social issues regarding women and children.
Mga Tinig ni Nene: Reclaiming Our Voices on the International Day of the Girl Child Live!Posted by Gabriela Youth on Tuesday, October 13, 2020
"Liza Soberano, there's still a chance to abdicate the group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira." Parlade, Jr. said in his statement, referring to a former Gabriela Youth member who died three years ago after an encounter with armed authorities.
He also issued a warning to Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, who has been vocal about national issues such as the enactment of the Anti-Terrorist Act and the shutdown of media giant ABS-CBN, before red-tagging Ella, Angel’s sister.
"The choice is yours Liza, and so with you Catriona," he said. "Don't follow the path Ka Ella Colmenares took in the underground and NPA Quezon. I am sure Angel Locsin and Neri Colmenares will not tell you this."
This statement prompted Liza and her legal counsel to release a statement of their own, slamming the red-tagging done by the military official, while clarifying that her expression of love and respect for women and children is a personal advocacy of hers.
“Ms. Soberano remains to be apolitical,” Lim added in a letter released through Star Magic. “She does not support any person’s political views. The important point here is respect for others, a virtue she has conscientiously practised all her life.”
“We, thus, call on everyone concerned to be circumspect in associating our client, with their respective political beliefs, whatever it may be,” he concluded.
Before Liza’s red-tagging issue, Angel has encountered similar attacks because of her criticism against the government.