MANILA – Senator Vicente Sotto's dig at Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo being a single parent is just the latest proof that chauvinism, sexism, and misogyny are alive in Congress, a party-list lawmaker said Thursday.
These traits were also on display during the House of Representatives inquiry on the New Bilibid Prison illegal drug trade, which delved into the relationship between former justice chief Leila de Lima and her driver, Ronnie Dayan, party-list lawmaker Antonio Tinio said.
"Talagang on public display iyong ganoong klaseng behavior. So kahiya-hiya para sa akin bilang miyembro ng institusyon, and I think the public made very clear its condemnation of such behavior," Tinio, who represents the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Party-List, said.
(That kind of behavior was on public display, so it shames me as a member of the institution.)
Tinio said Sotto's remarks show that Filipinos have a long way to go in ridding themselves of the negative aspects of a male-dominated culture, despite many women in leadership positions.
The lawmaker praised Taguiwalo’s handling of the situation even as he hoped the public outcry and Sotto’s apology would encourage public officials to mend their ways.
“I think he has issued some sort of apology, and well so let's hope everyone learns from this na mali iyong nangyari…Definitely publiko nag-eexpect ng mas mataas na standards of behavior," he said.
On Wednesday, Sotto brought up Taguiwalo’s status as a single mother during her confirmation hearing.
"[W]hen you have children and you are single, ang tawag doon ay 'na-ano lang,'" he said, earning the ire of some citizens, lawmakers, and concerned groups.
He later apologized, and said that those who took offense at his “joke” did not understand it.
"I have two daughters who are separated, who are single and have children. So I don't think there should be any big fuss about it," he added.
"Perhaps...these are just people who are not my fans so to speak (laughs). Baka mga talagang pakontra lang sa akin yan, kahit anong makita sa akin pangontra na."
"That's why ang premise ko, in the street language. 'Yun ang biruan sa kalsada eh. Kung minasama nila, eh di I'm sorry, I apologize. They didn't understand the joke," he added.