The camp of Catriona Gray has responded to the military official who issued a warning to the former Miss Universe on her involvement with women's rights group Gabriela.
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In a statement released on Friday, October 23, her legal counsel Atty. Joji Alonso said the mention of Catriona in Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr.'s message to actress Liza Soberano is "completely uncalled for," when all the beauty queen has endeavored to do is "advocate for women's rights."
It also said that Catriona will not waiver in continuously championing social causes that uplift women's lives.
READ: Atty Joji Alonso, Catriona Gray's legal counsel, released this statement saying that dragging Catriona's name was 'completely uncalled for'. Gray will continue to speak up to champion her advocacies. pic.twitter.com/Hpcnwdvk13— MJ Felipe (@mjfelipe) October 23, 2020
"While there may be people who will try, she remains steadfast in her stance that no one should be silenced in sharing their personal stories that give strength and support to fellow women who have gone through similar experiences," read the statement.
"Catriona expresses her gratitude to all those who share the same stand on gender equality and who aim to protect those who are brave enough to speak out on their platforms," it added.
In a statement posted on the Facebook page of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) on Wednesday, October 21, Parlade told Liza to cut her ties with Gabriela, otherwise, she could suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira, a a 22-year-old student from University of the Philippines Manila who was killed in a clash between government forces and the New People’s Army in Nasugbu, Batangas in 2017.
He then issued the same warning to Catriona.
“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 alleged.
Amid the controversy, several personalities in showbiz and politics alike have expressed solidarity with both Catriona and Liza.
In a statement, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who is also an advocate for women's rights, slammed Parlade for "abusing" his power as a general to scare and threaten Catriona and Liza.
"Huwag mong gamitin ang kapangyarihan mo bilang heneral upang takutin at pagbantaan ang mga kababaihang ito. Your threats and harassment are unacceptable. By silencing them, pinapalampas mo ang karahasan, panggagahasa, at pangaabuso na nararansan ng napakaraming Pilipino,” she said.
“We will not forget this. Tatandaan ko ang lahat ng mga ito at paghandaan mo ang susunod natin paghaharap sa Commission on Appointments. Hindi ko ito kayang palampasin,” she added.
Likewise, Senator Kiko Pangilinan said Parlade's threats were "uncalled for" and "unprofessional."
"Ano ba ‘yan? Nakipagkwentuhan lang si Liza, binantaan na ng kamatayan. Siya na nga ang binastos at binantaan ng rape, tatakutin pa? These threatening statements are uncalled for and unprofessional and should be called out," said Pangilinan.
Meanwhile, veteran scriptwriter Ricky Lee said: “Di dapat ginagawa 'yan. It creates an atmosphere of fear in democratic society everyone has a right to express their opinion kung ano ang tamang palakad sa ating lipunan.
“Dapat nga matuwa tayo dahil hindi sila 'yung sinasabing ‘artista lang yan.’ Sila ay may paninindigan ngayon, at kung 'di tayo umaayon sa kanila, respetuhin na lang natin, dahil boses nila 'yon,” he added.