MANILA- Removing the scholarships of students who join anti-state protests is against the right to freedom of speech and expression, Justice Chief Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.
Guevarra made the remark after National Youth Commission Ronald Cardema called on President Rodrigo Duterte to issue an executive order "removing the government scholarships of all anti-government scholars specifically those students who are allied with the leftist CPP-NPA-NDF."
"With all due respect, such a proposal, if adopted, would effectively restrain the youth's constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression," Guevarra said in a statement.
Cardema had argued that rebelling against the government equates to "fighting the majority of the Filipino People and also not fulfilling their roles as the expected breadwinners who will uplift their families and hope in strengthening the country."
The justice chief meanwhile said that state universities and colleges should instead be "proud" of students who join protests and view them as "socially aware" young people.
"Our state universities and colleges, instead of taking it against militant students by dropping them from the roll, should be proud that they are producing young people who are socially aware and concerned not only about themselves but also about the nation," Guevarra said. -with a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News