August 29, 2010
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francisco Pangilinan on Sunday said China should not condemn the draping of the Philippine national flag on the coffin of slain hostage-taker Rolando Mendoza.
The flag that covered Mendoza’s coffin during his wake, was eventually removed by his family following the protests of various sectors, including the Chinese embassy in Manila.
However, Pangilinan said the gesture of Mendoza’s family should have been left alone.
“While I personally object to, and disagree with, the using of the flag to cover the casket of Mendoza, there is no law that explicitly bans the use of the flag in such a manner,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“We will have to respect the individual freedoms of our people,” added Pangilinan.
The Filipino senator said that unlike Cina, the Philippines is a democratic country where there is freedom of expression.
“We ask for China’s understanding in that we live under different systems, and what may be prohibited and banned in their nation may not be so in ours.”
Pangilinan said he believes that when emotions have simmered down, “China will will respect the Philippine sovereignty and will not bully a small nation like the Philippines on a matter involving the use by our citizens of the Philippine flag despite the recent hostage taking tragedy involving their nationals.”
Mendoza was laid to rest in his hometown in Tanauan, Batangas on Saturday.
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