Pia Cayetano dismayed by whistling but backs Duterte
“I support the President but I don’t agree with the whistling.”
Thus said Sen. Pia Cayetano, one of the staunch allies of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, who continues to support him although she disagrees with his wolf-whistling a female broadcast reporter during a press conference late Tuesday.
Cayetano, whose brother Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections, made her sentiments known on Twitter after being repeatedly asked whether she was still supporting Duterte.
Duterte sparked yet another controversy after he whistled at GMA 7 reporter Mariz Umali while she was asking him a question during a press conference. He later defended his action by saying that there was nothing sexual about his move.
Cayetano, who fashions herself as an advocate of women’s rights, said that she did not condone catcalling.
In her tweets, the senator addressed those persistently asking her about Duterte, saying she could not answer for him.
She stressed that she was not his spokesperson, and that he freely answered questions in his press conferences.
Asked by a Twitter user if she would reprimand him for his actions, she said she would talk to him personally if she had something to say.
“What I say to the President, I will tell him personally, not on Twitter,” said Cayetano.
Cayetano will transfer to the Lower House next month after winning a seat as representative of Taguig City, replacing her brother, Rep. Lino Cayetano.
In a late night press conference on Thursday, Duterte defended his wolf-whistling the GMA 7 reporter by saying that there was nothing sexual about his move.
Seemingly justifying his action, he said he was “exasperated” by her question.
Umali’s husband, GMA 7 reporter Raffy Tima, said in a post on his Facebook page that Duterte’s whistling at his wife was “wrong [on] so many levels.”
‘Knowing proper behavior’
Two sitting senators yesterday gave Duterte the benefit of the doubt although many see Duterte’s unprecedented antics as an unpresidential behavior.
According to Sen. Sonny Angara, the President-elect knows well enough that he has to act differently when he officially assumes office and could be expected to change on June 30.
“He is highly intelligent and educated person and as such would know the proper behavior expected of a President,” Angara said, when asked about the controversies generated by the incoming Chief Executive’s statements.
Asked about his views on Duterte’s scathing remarks about the media and even the United Nations, Angara said Duterte was still in a transition period and would like to enjoy his last few days as Davao City mayor.
Duterte had criticized the United Nations, which he said should not meddle with him as it could not even solve the problems of other conflict-torn countries.
Angara said that based on Duterte’s own words, the mayor himself knew that he had to alter his actions.
“His pronouncements at [Thursday] night’s press conference about presenting a different persona beginning June 30, when his term as President begins, indicate that he is aware that he can no longer act in quite the same way,” he said in a text message.
Angara also believed that Duterte’s attitude to the media could change.
“He will sooner or later realize that he is better off with media as his ally rather than an adversary,” he said.
‘Getting to know’
Sen. Vicente Sotto III said that “current events” were part of the “getting to know each other stage.”
“I will reserve my opinion after June 30, when everything is official,” Sotto said.
Duterte has received flak for saying that the killing of journalists was justified if they were corrupt.
The remarks sparked fears that more members of the media would be killed in the Philippines, which is already one of the most dangerous places for journalists.
An online and mobile poll conducted by the Inquirer on Friday showed that majority of the respondents were turned off by the profanity-laced answers of Duterte.
The Inquirer posed this question to its followers on social and mobile networks Facebook, Twitter and Viber: “President-elect Duterte has been using profanity quite freely. Is this a matter of concern for you?”
“Yes, it’s unpresidential,” was the choice of 62 percent of the 1,395 Twitter users who voted in the poll on the Inquirer verified account, @inquirerdotnet. It was also the leading choice on the Inquirer’s Viber Public Chat (inq.news/viber)
However, “no, he’s being himself,” was the leading choice on the Facebook version of the poll at 42 percent of the 3,333 Facebook users who voted. The poll was carried on the Inquirer’s verified page, facebook.com/inquirerdotnet.
The poll was still running as of 4:50 p.m. yesterday. With a report from Inquirer.net
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