Without a doubt, celebrities have thousands, if not millions, of fans—and even more eyes on them whenever they are in front of the camera or posting on social media. This is also the reason why many celebrities would often send everyone abuzz whenever they make a comment about societal issues. Take actress Liza Soberano as the most recent example.
A few weeks ago, Soberano spoke at a webinar organized by Gabriela Youth. She talked about “tragedies and hardships happening not only to women and children, but to a lot of people in general.” (Read: #HijaAko: Celebs Are Now Taking a Stand Against Harassment Online) She added that despite it being something she advocates for, she rarely talks about it publicly in the fear of “dividing her supporters,” as she didn’t want any conflict between them.
“But then I realized, especially, most recently when there was someone who made a sexual abuse comment towards me… I realized the impact of me standing up for myself, especially after I filed a criminal case against somebody who made a rape joke against me,” Soberano said.
Red-Tagged for Taking a Stand
Statement of legal counsel of Liza Soberano, Atty. Jun Lim, sa red-tagging issue sa aming alaga.
Soberano’s bravery to come forward and share about her experience was met with praise and admiration by many. However, there are also others who took offense at her participation in the Gabriela Youth event and accused her of now being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The actress’ camp has since then denied the allegations and clarified that Soberano remains apolitical. Gabriela Women’s Party has also released a statement of support for the actress, saying that fighting for human rights is not at all a form of terrorism. (Read: 3 Times UP Was Red-Tagged and Called ‘Bayaran’ This Year)
“Hindi terorismo ang paglaban sa abuso. Be a Liza Soberano in this country being led by macho-fascist officials,” the group said. “We call on more public personalities to use their platforms to promote human rights, something that is badly needed today amidst the many forms of violence being promoted by the highest officials of the land.”
Warning From the Military
Amid the noise surrounding Soberano’s participation in the Gabriela Youth event, an official from the Philippine Military has stepped in to make a comment. On October 20, Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, Jr. released a statement on Facebook regarding the issue. He warned Soberano to revoke her support for Gabriela as early as now, or else she might “end up dead” like activist Josephine Lapira who died in a clash between the army and members of the NPA in 2017.
“Liza Soberano, there’s still a chance to abdicate that group. If you don’t, you will suffer the same fate as Josephine Anne Lapira,” Parlade said. He went on to say that Catriona Gray should also rethink her ties with Gabriela Youth. “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 adds, referring to Angel Locsin who is vocal of her opinions. (Read: Real-Life Darna: Angel Locsin raises P11 million to provide tents to hospitals)
Sexual Harassment Incident
The sexual harassment incident that Soberano was referring to during her talk in the Gabriela Youth event was when a netizen made a rape comment about her in September. The comment comes after Soberano raised concerns about the services of a certain internet provider—of which the commenter was an employee.
Soberano didn’t let this pass, and with the encouragement of fellow celebrities and fans, she filed a criminal case against the netizen. (Read: Liza Soberano Opens Up About Anxiety, Shares Tips for Good Mental Health)
Veteran celebrities like Assunta De Rossi and Angel Locsin both tweeted in support of the young actress’ move, saying that they are proud of Soberano for standing up for herself and showing others that they should do the same.
Soberano’s actions proved to be an inspiration to many, as days after she took a stand against harassment, numerous women from the showbiz industry—such as Julia Barretto and Xyriel Manabat—also stepped in and shared about their experiences.