MANILA (Mabuhay) – While Filipinos are free to speak up about issues, it should not result in violence, Malacañang said, a day after Budget Secretary Florencio Abad was mobbed by angry students.
“Every citizen is free to express his opinion on any matter. However, it is different when an opinion is expressed with a view to violence or threats. The latter should have no place in our society,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said.
She was reacting to the protest at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman where Abad, who spoke at a forum, was pelted with crumpled paper.
“Thankfully, most of the students who actually participated in the dialogue took time to listen to Secretary Abad,” Valte added.
Militant youth group Anakbayan said it was protesting against Abad for his defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program, which has been dubbed as presidential pork and declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
A video of the incident made available to media by the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy – UP (CONTEND-UP) showed students bearing placards and chanting “Noynoy patalsikin (Oust Aquino).”
Abad made his way out of the building shielded by aides as the students shouted “Magnanakaw (thief)!” The footage also showed his vehicle being blocked by some of the protesters.
The students said “plunderers and thieves” were not welcome in the university.
They said Abad and President Benigno Aquino III should be held accountable “for their crimes.” (MNS)