Malacañang Shrugs Off 'Noynoying'

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang Friday brushed aside the new protest style of militant groups against President Benigno S. Aquino III's supposed inaction on high oil prices.

Valte maintained they respect the new protest gimmick called "noynoying" as part of the country's vibrant democracy.

"It seems whoever the President you put, the same thing is done," Valte said when asked if the Palace was offended by the apparent mockery of the President by some protesters. "They will always do what they wish, it is a democracy," she added.

But senators scored the latest gimmick of youth protesters, saying it's unfair to the President.

"Definitely that's very unfair," said Sen. Teofisto Guingona III.

"We are not privy to the activities of the President day to day. Therefore, it is very unfair for anyone to say such things to our President. Most especially the head, the representative of the entire government," said Guingona, who ran for senator under the Liberal Party.

Sen. Francis Escudero also branded the act as "uncalled for" and "disrespectful not on only of the person but more importantly of the office."

"Let us not go down to that level," Escudero urged the public.

During a transport strike last Thursday, protesters displayed "noynoying," where they sat down and did nothing to mimic what they called as Aquino's alleged inaction to stop surging fuel prices.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda had earlier said the protesters sought to antagonize the President but felt the protest style will not catch public's attention.

Valte also explained that the pictures showing the President working behind his desk were part of the regular photos released by the Palace. "Certainly it was not a response to any matter. You would know very well that the photo bureau releases pictures of the President in a regular basis," she said.

The President, meantime, is now feeling better after falling sick last Wednesday, according to Valte.

Prior to his unannounced visit to the New Executive Building to meet his communication officials, the President held meetings with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima at his private office.

Aquino was then scheduled to attend the 20th anniversary of the ANVIL Business Club in Makati City last Friday night. It was his first public engagement since he suffered colds early this week.