DEFENSE chief Norberto Gonzales was caught off guard when several militant students jeered him during a forum at the Ateneo de Davao University Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the militant League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Anakbayan did a blitzkrieg just as Secretary Gonzales was speaking about democratic election at the said forum.

For updates from around the country, follow Sun.Star on Twitter

Students called Gonzales as "Secretary of Arroyo's Defense" and lambasted his brainchild, the government's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya for allegedly having victimized thousands of youth and civilians.

"How can someone who masterminds political killings in the country represent democracy," Karlos Manlupig of LFS-Southern Mindanao ranted.

"Hindi makakalimutan ng mamamayan na isa si Gonzales sa arkitekto ng Oplan Bantay Laya 2. Hindi makakalimutan ng kabataan ang libu-libong walang-awang pinatay sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo," the student leader added.

The student protesters brought with them placards denouncing Gonzales and the Arroyo government.

The protesters were readily whisked away by the school guards out of the auditorium where the forum was held and attended by hundreds of students and teachers.

The LFS said one student was dragged and was forced to surrender his school ID.

Gonzales meanwhile tagged Manlupig as a communist whom he said belongs to a group who wants him dead.

“Kaawa-awa naman ang batang yun. Puro na lang kasinungalingan ang kanyang pinagsasabi. Talagang naimpluwensyahan na sya,” Gonzales said in a television interview.

"Gonzalez is a bigot. His ideas are not only preposterous, his anti-communist tirade belongs to the dustbin of history, as old as US Senator McCarthy in the 1950s. We belong to a legal organization fighting for just demands. By publicly declaring that we are communists, Gonzales signed our death sentence, as it is an indirect order for the state mercenaries to arrest, torture and kill us," Manlupig retorted.

The youth insisted that the objective of Gonzales in the city is to further manipulate the election to serve the interest of Arroyo.

"The presence of Arroyo's most rabid dogs, including Palparan, Alcover, Nograles, and Gonzales, in the city means that Arroyo is desperate to cling to power. But we warn you. The youth will not think twice to defend their rights," stressed Manlupig.

"We will fight these demons until Arroyo and her minions be severely punished," he added.