MALACAÑANG on Thursday denounced the humiliating attack on Budget Secretary Florencio Abad at the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City, on Wednesday night.
Abad was mobbed by a group of angry students after attending a forum on the national budget. He was heckled and confronted by a few students on his way out of the venue. At least one student grabbed his collar while others threw crumpled paper at him while shouting anti-government slogans.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who is on an official trip in France, has been informed of the incident.
“The President has been informed of the incident at the University of the Philippines where Secretary Abad was ‘mobbed’ by a group of protesters after he participated in a forum on the national budget. 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 added.
He said the incident served as “an opportune time to reassess the implications to an institution of higher learning when a political forum degenerates into mob rule.”
Malacanang deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte also denounced the incident, saying violence and threats “should not have a place in society.”
“There is something wrong when expression skips the bounds of peace toward the possibility of inciting threats or even violence,” Valte said.
Abad was said to have defended the ticklish issue of the Disbursement
Acceleration Program (DAP) at the forum held at the UP School of Economics.
“I understand that someone grabbed the back of the collar of Secretary Abad and that someone, 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 acts, I think, should not have been done, they have no place in a public discourse],” Valte said.