Angel Locsin to Tito Sotto: I hope we don’t get tagged as terrorists for voicing opinions
MANILA, Philippines – Actress Angel Locsin on Saturday, June 6, called Senate President and TV show host Tito Sotto out for apparently "liking" a tweet that accused the General's Daughter actress of "being pro-NPA since Day 1."
"Saw that you liked this tweet," said Locsin on Twitter, posting a screenshot of Sotto liking a tweet from user @prokape accusing her of supporting the New People's Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. A person's likes on Twitter are visible to the public. They are easily accessible through the "likes" tab on a person's Twitter profile.
"I will never support terrorists, nor will I ever support any kind of violence. You have the right to like any tweet. And we have the right to voice out our opinions. I hope we don’t get tagged as terrorist for doing so. Thank you," continued Locsin, who is known both for her philantrophic and activist work.
Hi Sen @sotto_tito, saw that you liked this tweet. I will never support terrorists, nor will I ever support any kind of violence. You have the right to like any tweet. And we have the right to voice out our opinions. I hope we don’t get tagged as terrorist for doing so. Thank you pic.twitter.com/xfQNsnCFF5— Angel Locsin (@143redangel) June 6, 2020
Locsin has raised funds and bought supplies for sectors most in need. During the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, she helped raised funds to feed and shelter patients and medical and security frontliners. An initiative she started with fellow actress Anne Curtis is now raising funds to purchase coronavirus test kits.
The original tweet which tagged Locsin as an NPA supporter was reacting to another tweet that included a screenshot of Locsin responding to a @MarcosGlobalOFC, which went on a rant against the NPA accusing the party-list Bayan Muna of being an "NPA wing." Bayan Muna is a progressive party-list group that is represented in the Philippine Congress.
Locsin responded by pointing out that the NPA was born "dahil dyan sa profile picture mo (because of your profile picture)."
The user had the image of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as its profile picture. "Siya ang may kagagawan ng lahat ng gulo. At kasama ka sa mga dapat makunsensya dahil pinagkakitaan mo yang pagtro-troll mo para sa mali (He's why we're in this mess. And you should also been responsible because you're making money out of trolling spread lies)," Locsin said.
The tweet which @prokape responded to also included a photo of Locsin and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares. Locsin is Neri Colmenares' aunt – a link neither has ever tried to conceal. Locsin, in fact, endorsed her nephew's 2019 Senate run. Colmenares himself is a victim of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime.
The tweets that Locsin responded to – and her subsequent tweet to Sotto – should be understood in the context of a larger and dangerous occurrence in the Philippines: red-tagging.
Red-tagging, based on the Philippines Supreme Court's definition, is the “the act of labeling, branding, naming and accusing individuals and/or organizations of being left-leaning, subversives, communists or terrorists (used as) a strategy...by State agents, particularly law enforcement agencies and the military, against those perceived to be ‘threats’ or ‘enemies of the State.’”
It comes especially nefarious after the House of Representatives passed a bill that expands the state's power to pursue terrorists, including allowing a group of Cabinet officials to decide which groups may be considered terrorists.
Human rights advocates and lawyers have opposed the anti-terrorism bill, pointing out that it's prone to abuse by state forces. The bill has passed both chambers of Congress but has not yet been submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature.
Sotto is a principal author of the anti-terrorism bill and has said that only "terrorists or their supporters are the only ones who will be afraid of the bill." – Rappler.com