Two members of the Senate’s so-called “macho bloc” have expressed willingness to support a bill that would protect battered husbands.
Senators Tito Sotto and Gregorio Honasan admit, albeit jokingly, that they sympathize with their beleaguered “bros” since they are both “under the saya” (henpecked husbands).
The idea of a law that would protect battered husbands surfaced on Father’s Day after deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte was asked whether Malacañang would be open to such a proposal.
Honasan, in an earlier query, said he would support such a measure should one be filed in the Senate. He cited the “equal protection clause and principle in the Constitution” as a basis for this.
Birds of same feather
Upon hearing of Honasan’s opinion, Sotto agreed his colleague would favor such a measure.
“Kasi under the saya siya, eh, kaya malakas ang loob n’ya, haha (It’s because he is a henpecked husband, that’s why he can talk so bravely),” Sotto said jokingly in an impromptu interview with reporters.
Sotto added that Honasan would not simply support the bill. It is also likely Honasan would file the bill himself.
“Tell him I said that. And when he hears about it, I already know what Greg would answer—‘So is he,’” Sotto said.
True enough, Honasan expressed willingness to support moves to protect battered husbands. In a text message, he also acknowledged—in jest—that “I am really afraid of Misis, hehehe, like my BFF (best friend forever), Senator Sotto.”
Honasan, a former Army colonel, grabbed the headlines in the 1980s as among the leaders of a military rebel group that staged several coup attempts against then President Corazon Aquino, the incumbent President’s late mother.
Helen and Jane
Sotto’s wife is the once very popular film star and singer Helen Gamboa, who has become active again in show business.
The Senate website says Mrs. Honasan, the former Jane Umali, is a “medical technologist by vocation and an interior designer by training” with whom Honasan has five children.
Now that his and Honasan’s support for battered husbands has been established, Sotto said the next concern would be whether a beaten-up hubby would be willing to testify as a resource person in a Senate hearing should his colleagues consider the bill.
Bill on wife-beating
Sotto recalled that during the 12th Congress, the Senate women and family relations committee chair, Teresa Aquino-Oreta, held hearings on a bill filed by Sen. Luisa “Loi” Ejercito penalizing violence committed against women, including wife-beating.
Sotto said he once stood up to interpellate Oreta when the latter sponsored the measure on the session floor. He asked Oreta and Ejercito why their bill did not include battered husbands.
“Are you willing to testify?” Oreta asked Sotto that time.
No one will testify
Sotto maintained he still believed that while the Senate would be open to the measure, finding resource persons who would testify that husband battery exists would be difficult—unless a hubby who had endured it would be man enough to admit it.
“There are some but not too many,” Sotto said. “No one will testify. It will be difficult to pass. The intention is good but no one will come forward to defend it.”
Sotto concluded: “Magpapakalalaki na lang kami (We’ll just have to show them we’re real men).”