MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Wednesday that only students proven to be linked to communist rebel groups, and not rallyists or dissenters, may risk losing their state scholarships.
Duterte made this remark after National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman Ronald Cardema called on the President to remove state scholarships for student-rallyists, particularly those suspected to be members of the leftist movement.
“Wala naman kung dissent lang (It’s nothing if it’s just dissent). If you disagree with my move, you disagree or you do not find consonance in our decision,” he said in a chance interview in Malacañan Palace.
“But if you go and say, ‘Let us go out, join the NPAs, support the NPAs, give food to the NPAs, money to the NPAs,’ then you espouse the destruction of the duly constituted government,” he said, referring to the New People’s Army.
Duterte said it takes more than “just expressions” to overthrow the government and he needs to see “overt acts” to prove that student rallyists are indeed members of the leftist movement.
He noted that “espousing to overthrow the government” means one could be a “potential leader” of communist rebels.
“They are these potential leaders. You are showing their faces, convincing the nation, and at this time they are all leaders,” Duterte said.
“If you espouse to overthrow government, then you are committing a crime of rebellion. Now you become a part or member of the other larger groups, whether it has a name or a loose federation or a grouping — then you become a member of that organized group. And that would be rebellion,” he said.
Duterte, meanwhile, said that students linked to the NPA may also be arrested.
“When the time comes, I will arrest all of them and they will lose everything that government has offered them,” he added. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasaia.com