OPINION: Social media useful in making those in power accountable in Bertiz’s case

Ellen T. Tordesillas

Posted at Oct 03 2018 05:32 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2018 11:59 PM

The shaming of Party List (ACTS OFW) Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III (which he fully deserves) quickly caught on because of the closed-circuit television video that was circulated in social media.

One of media’s public service roles is to hold those in power accountable. In this case, social media was a useful tool.

I’m looking for a word that best describes Bertiz. 

I find “bastos,” “tarantado,” “gago,” “walang hiya,” “manloloko” too mild for what he did to the airport personnel last Saturday at the NAIA.

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No English word also can best capture the ugly vibration that his airport act produced. “Scoundrel," “degenerate," “reprobate,” “lawbreaker” are also too kind for him.

Bertiz’s damage control attempts are as condemnable as his grabbing the identification card of Hamilton Abdul, Office of Transportation Security officer, who insisted that the congressman remove his shoes as part of the strict security measures implemented by the airport.

Even as he apologized after he was widely bashed in social media, Bertiz tried to justify his arrogance with the tale that airport personnel were not as strict on several "Chinese-looking nationals" who were also going through the security procedures.

Senator JV Ejercito didn’t bite Bertiz’s excuse. "Palusot pa more! Kitang kita sa video Mr. Congressman kahit walang audio kung paano ka umasta! Hindi lisensya para magmalaki ang may suot kang pin ng Kongreso dapat nga mas maingat sa publiko kapag suot mo yan! (You're making excuses! It's clear in the video Mr. Congressman, though it has no audio, how you behaved! Proudly wearing a pin from Congress is not a license, you should even be more careful in public when you wear that!)," Ejercito tweeted.

A CCTV went viral in social media on Sunday showing Bertiz shoving his ID and airport pass to the face of Abdul and forcibly grabbing the airport personnel’s ID.

Feeling the heat after his good friend Bong Go, special assistant to the President, didn’t come to his defense, and House Speaker Gloria Arroyo expressing her desire for the institution to do something about the uncalled-for-behavior of its member who represents overseas Filipino workers, Bertiz apologized but gave another unexcusable excuse.

On Monday, he said in a press conference: “I’m very sorry for my actions. It’s really uncalled for as a public official. My actions at the airport were totally uncalled for. “

But he did not stop there. He continued: "Once a year na medyo dapuan po tayo ng monthly period, 'di ko na rin po maiiaalis na tao lang po, na marupok at umiinit ang ulo—naii-stress din sa trabaho (Once a year, we get this monthly period. I'm just human, fragile. I get hot-headed and stressed from work.)”

That was not acceptable to Gabriela Party-list Representative Emmi de Jesus who cut him down: “Kaming mga babae ay walang problema sa regla. Ang isyu ay ang arogansya niya. Women should not be stereotyped as arrogant and entitled during their menstrual period. Huwag niyang idamay ang kababaihan kasi siya ang may problema.(We women don't have problems with our menstruation. The issue is his arrogance. Women should not be stereotyped as arrogant and entitled during their menstrual period. He should not drag women into the issue because it is he who has a problem.)"

Earlier, Bertiz tried to turn the table on OTS questioning the release of the CCTV. He demanded an investigation on who posted it on social media.

Bertiz should be told that the issue here is his ugly and offensive behavior. And we are thankful that the public was able to see it. Thanks to the CCTV and social media.

One of the functions of media is to hold those in power accountable. In this case, social media was a useful tool.

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Blog: www.ellentordesillas.com
Email: ellentordesillas@gmail.com

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(Editor's note: Ms. Ellen Tordesillas is a veteran journalist. She is president of VERA Files, verafiles.org, an independent media organization of veteran Filipino journalists who take a deeper look into current Philippine issues. She also writes for malaya.com.ph)

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.