Robredo, female senators hit solons’ sexism
Vice President Leni Robredo joined female senators on Friday in hitting out at the misogyny, sexism and voyeurism exhibited by several congressmen at the House inquiry into drug allegations against Sen. Leila de Lima.
“I checked online the questions asked and they were totally unnecessary, some were even malicious. Those should have no place on institutions that we should respect,” Robredo said at the start of a campaign to end violence against women. “What really happened is slut-shaming.”
Senators Grace Poe and Risa Hontiveros separately criticized the congressmen for focusing on the past relationship between De Lima and her former driver and lover, Ronnie Dayan, and for derogatory remarks meant to objectify, ridicule and shame their colleague.
“In recent political events, we watched in dismay and anger as powerful male leaders uttered derogatory pronouncements objectifying and ridiculing women,” Poe said.
‘Lowest of the low’
She said questions that certain lawmakers threw at Dayan amounted to nothing more than “voyeurism” and was not meant to aid them in legislating.
The House of Representatives “hit the lowest of the low” during the House hearing on Thursday, Hontiveros said, calling it “a public lynching in aid of misogyny and sexism.”
“Members of the committee were grossly unparliamentary. Their derogatory line of questioning did not aim to shed light on the issue of the drug trade in our prisons. They were meant to humiliate and shame Senator De Lima for her association with a certain man, or her past relationship,” said the lawmaker of Akbayan, who ran alongside De Lima under the Liberal Party (LP).
She said the lawmakers’ conduct tended to abet “the despicable culture” of misogyny seen “both online and off.”
Hontiveros lamented how, despite global advances in the movement for gender sensitivity, a woman’s integrity and reputation could be “undermined by unreasonable, traditional and conservative expectations of women’s conduct in romantic and even sexual relationships.”
“It is even more shameful that this nation’s supposed leaders, elected representatives of the Filipino people, made
the shaming of women a political strategy and a spectacle in the ‘honorable’ chambers of Congress,” she said.
Hontiveros also noted the elitism that several lawmakers exhibited, even at one point asking Dayan to describe the intensity of their romance and using phrases with double meaning.
On Thursday night, LP senators called out the “unparliamentary” behavior of their House counterparts.
“As pointed out by people who saw the hearing, the conduct of some members of the House committee on justice was unparliamentary,” read the statement issued by Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon and Senators Francis Pangilinan and Bam Aquino Thursday night.
“The disrespectful and condescending line of questioning— which at one point seemed to justify an act of domestic violence —has no place in the halls of Congress,” the LP senators said.
Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said De Lima should not be held liable for her purported text message to Dayan’s daughter, as she merely made a suggestion that he should not appear at the House inquiry.
The message prompted House committee members to issue a show-cause order against De Lima to compel her to explain herself.
“I don’t think Senator De Lima obstructed justice. She only recommended. She did not prevent nor aided Dayan from not testifying,” Recto said.
At the House hearing, several congressmen feasted on the salacious tidbits of the love affair. As the inquiry unfolded live on television, it largely focused on the raunchy details of the affair as the congressmen erupted in laughter.
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