Was Sotto joking or insulting Taguiwalo?
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s name was all over social media on Wednesday afternoon following his controversial remarks during Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s confirmation hearing.
An excerpt of his conversation with Taguiwalo during the televised hearing circulated online and drew the ire of netizens and women’s rights groups.
In videos posted online, Sotto is shown telling Taguiwalo, “On the lighter side, Senator Drilon and I were looking at the personal information about you. You have two children. Daughters or sons?”
“Two daughters,” Taguiwalo replied.
“Two daughters. But you’re single?,” the senator said.
“My life has never been a normal one. I never had a ‘mother, father, children’ kind of thing, except when I was growing up in Bacolod,” Taguiwalo said. “Remember, I graduated from UP in 1970. I did organizing work. 1972 to 1986, it has been life underground or in prison. So, my stories would be different from the stories of those who have gone through UP, (and then worked for) a corporation.”
“Ah in street language, when you have children and you’re single ang tawag diyan (you call that) ‘na-ano lang,’” Sotto said, referring to someone who became pregnant out of wedlock.
“Thank you, you have my 100 percent support, Madame Secretary,” the Senator said after.
One of those who attended the event said some people laughed at the comment although it felt more like “awkward laughter.” Some reportedly commented that what Sotto said was inappropriate because he was at the Senate and not at “Eat Bulaga!”
Sotto, before entering politics, was a popular noontime show host. He continues to co-host “Eat Bulaga!” where such comments have become staple jokes.
Taguiwalo did not seem irked by the senator’s statement, but she said, “Senator Sotto, I teach women’s studies in UP (University of the Philippines). We respect all kinds of families, and that includes solo parents.”
As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, the name “Tito Sotto” remains the top trending topic on Twitter.
Twitter user @annaoposa posted, “Today, Gina Lopez was rejected and Sen. Tito Sotto gets away with making fun of single parents. Ano na, Pilipinas. Ano na.”
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