Makabayan solons: Sotto joke about Taguiwalo smacks of misogyny

/ 05:38 PM May 04, 2017
Vicente Sotto III

Sen. Vicente Sotto lll (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Makabayan lawmakers on Thursday said the joke of Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III about the single motherhood of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo smacks of misogyny, a prejudice against women apparent in the 17th Congress.

In a news conference, Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said Sotto should learn a lesson or two about the backlash of his tasteless joke.


Sotto made the tasteless joke about Taguiwalo’s status as solo parent during the latter’s confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments. Sotto joked that Taguiwalo was “na-ano” when she got pregnant out of wedlock.

“Talagang nadismaya tayo sa pagdirespeto sa kaniya ni Senator Sotto sa confirmation hearing,” he said. “I think Secretary Taguiwalo responded very well and I think malinaw naman yung public condemnation sa mga salita at behavior ni Senator Sotto.”


(“We really are dismayed about Senator Sotto’s disrespect during the confirmation hearing. I think Secretary Taguiwalo responded very well and I think the public condemnation was clear against the words and behavior of Senator Sotto.”)

“I think he has issued some sort of apology. So let’s hope everyone learns from this,” he added.

A reporter raised an interesting observation about the apparent misogyny in both Senate and the House – the same prejudice against women was in full display during the House committee investigation into the alleged drug trade involving Sen. Leila de Lima.

The hearing dragged De Lima’s lover, her former driver Ronnie Dayan, who was accused of delivering kickbacks from the New Bilibid Prison drug trade for De Lima.

The House hearing displayed in full view the lewd details of De Lima’s relationship with Dayan, which the Makabayan lawmakers agree was also a case of misogyny or pinning the blame on the woman.

De Lima and Dayan are detained on the non-bailable charges of drug trade and sale.

During that hearing. Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas had Dayan explain the intensity of his relationship with De Lima in terms of storm signals.


Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque was almost ousted by his own party-list for his sexually charged questions implying that Dayan seems fond of “caressing.”

1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro even asked Dayan when his relationship with De Lima “climaxed.”

READ: De Lima video not shown but lurid details bared in House probe | House members feast on De Lima-Dayan love affair

“Kahit dito sa House, matindi ang chauvinism, misogyny ng mga miyembro mismo,” Tinio said. “Unfortunately, in the case of the hearings kay Senator De Lima, talagang on display publicly yung ganung klaseng behavior. Kahiya hiya para sa akin bilang miyembro ng institusyon.”

(“Even here at the House, chauvinism, misogyny is intense even among the members. Unfortunately, in the case of the hearings on Senator De Lima, this kind of behavior is on public display. It’s embarrassing for me as a member of the institution.”)

“I think the public made very clear it’s a condemnation of such a behavior,” he added.

Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said there remains a long way to go for Congress to break away from such a male-dominated orientation.

“Hindi yan limited kay Senator Sotto maging sa kapwa naming mambabatas. In all fronts, lumalabas ang mga ganyang biases, misconceptions. Pero patuloy ang efforts… hanggang ultimately mawala ang ganiyang maling pananaw,” Casilao said.

(“It’s not just limited to Senator Sotto or even our colleagues in the House. In all fronts, that kind of biases, misconception shows. But the efforts should continue until eventually, that kind of wrong misconception would be ultimately eliminated.”)

During the confirmation hearing, Sotto asked Taguiwalo about the latter’s two daughters born out of wedlock.

“On the lighter side, Senator [Franklin] Drilon and I were looking at the personal information about you and you have two children, daughters ba or sons? Two daughters. But you’re single,” Sotto said.

Taguiwalo said she did not have a normal life since she joined the underground movement against the Marcos dictatorship in the 1970s.

“My life has never been a normal one,” Taguiwalo said. “I never had a whole mother-father-children kind of thing, except when I was growing up in Bacolod.”

Taguiwalo was a victim of torture during the brutal martial law regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She was arrested in 1973 and tortured by being made to put on a block of ice while stripped naked and was subjected to water cure.

Taguiwalo escaped from prison in 1974 and joined the underground movement. She was rearrested in 1984 on rebellion charges. She was four months pregnant then.

Taguiwalo gave birth in prison. She was released after the fall of the dictatorship in 1986.

During the hearing, Sotto made a joke in street language about Taguiwalo’s single motherhood.

“Ah in the street language, when you have children and you’re single ang tawag diyan ‘na-ano lang’,” Sotto said.

He clarified however that he supports Taguiwalo’s confirmation.

In response, Taguiwalo said: “Senator Sotto, I teach women’s studies in UP [University of the Philippines in Diliman]. We respect all kinds of families, and that includes solo parents. Thank you.”

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas and Emmi De Jesus have demanded an apology from Sotto, who has issued a conditional apology.

READ: Gabriela solons take offense at Sotto’s joke about Taguiwalo’s status | Sotto on Taguiwalo remarks: If I’m a bad person, then I apologize

“The senator clearly went out of bounds, insinuating malice at Taguiwalo who raised her two children as a solo parent, dubbing such as ‘na-ano‘,” they said.

“Solo parents, including the DSWD secretary should in no way be at the receiving end of such insults,” they added.

Taguiwalo has been fielded anew for confirmation by the CA after it bypassed her appointment last March 15. /atm

READ: CA bypasses Lopez, 3 other secretaries
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TAGS: Antonio Tinio, Ariel Casilao, Gabriela, Judy Taguiwalo, Tito Sotto, Vicente Sotto III
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