Palace frowns upon ‘violent’ UP protest vs Abad
MANILA, Philippines – It’s hard to talk to someone who is shouting and not listening, Malacañang said, a day after Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad was mobbed by angry students.
“Mahirap pong makipagusap kung sumisigaw lamang at hindi nakikinig,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said Thursday during a televised press briefing.
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.
Militant youth group Anakbayan said it was protesting against Abad for his defense of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been dubbed as presidential pork and declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Palace: UP is expected to promote responsibility
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Benigno Aquino III has already been informed of the incident.
“He believes that as the premier university, the UP is expected to promote responsibility in the exercise of the freedom of expression and civility while engaging in political discourse,” Coloma said.
“This may be an opportune time to reassess the implications to an institution of higher learning when a political forum degenerates into mob rule,” he added.
“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,” Valte told INQUIRER.net.
“Thankfully, most of the students who actually participated in the dialogue took time to listen to Secretary Abad,” she added.
Right to protest
However, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes said Malacanang was difficult to dialogue with.
“Naghain kami ng impeachment para masagot nila ang mga alegasyon sa DAP, pero pinatay nila ang complaint sa tulong ng mga alyado nila sa Kamara. Di nila sinagot,” he said.
(We filed an impeachment complaint so they may answer the allegations against DAP but they killed the complaint with the help of their allies in Congress. They did not answer it.)
He said the students had all the right to protest.
But Valte said manhandling the official was uncalled for.
“I understand that someone grabbed the back of the collar of Secretary Abad and that some of them threw paper, I think, at his face. ‘Yung mga ganoon po siguro hindi dapat—wala dapat sa lugar ng pampublikong diskurso
(Those kinds of incidents should not be part of public discourse),” she said.
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” against the taxpayers.
Originally posted: 12:15 pm | Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.