MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang on Tuesday defended the action undertaken by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against the protesters outside the Batasan during President Benigno Aquino's State of the Nation Address Monday.
Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the PNP exercised "maximum tolerance" and that while the Palace respects the protesters' right to stage demonstrations, making it violent is "crossing the line."
"Ang mga ganitong pangyayari, dapat hindi nangyayari 'yan eh. Unang una, bakit? We respect very highly freedom of expression in this country. But again, as one our favorite characters has said, 'pag merong kapangyarihan, merong responsibilidad," Valte said.
"Freedom is not unbridled. Malaya po na ipahayag ang saloobin, bukas po tayo sa opinyon na hindi naaayon sa ating paninindigan," she added. "We are open to dissent. But violence is crossing the line."
"Meron pong reasonable restrictions. The PNP exercised maximum tolerance. In fact, the policemen who are guarding that perimeter are unarmed. Violence crosses the line," she said.