GABRIELA Women’s Party demands apology from Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for his tasteless joke insulting Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo as a solo parent.
In a statement published Thursday, May 4, the women’s group said they take so much offense on the way Sotto questioned Taguiwalo and cast aspersion on her being a single mother.
“Gabriela Women's Party takes much offense, in behalf of solo parents, women raising their children amid difficult circumstances at Sen. Vicente Sotto III's tirades as he raised questions at the Commission on Appointments (CA)'s hearing on the appointment of DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo,” the statement read.
The group said 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."
“Solo parents, including the DSWD secretary should in no way be at the receiving end of such insults. We demand a public apology from the senator,” the statement read.
The group also commended Taguiwalo for standing her ground amid the insults.
“She is an inspiration to marginalized women and is more than deserving of a confirmation from the CA,” the official statement read.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Southern Mindanao Region Secretary General May Ann Sapar said that what Sotto did is not a joke.
“Nagatuo ko nga dili to simply nga joke. Gibuhat to ni Sen. Sotto to discredit Secretary Judy (I believe that it is not simply a joke. It was done by Senator Sotto to discredit Secretary Judy),” Sapar said.
Sapar added that what Senator Sotto did only show how he views women in general.
“Nagpakita lang pud si Senator Sotto kung unsa ang iyang panglantaw sa mga kababaihan in general. Wala gyud sya nagarespeto (Senator Sotto only shows how he sees women in general. He does not respect women),” she said.
She said that with the persistent rumors about the Pepsi Paloma case, she is not surprised at how Sotto conducted himself.
“Kung tutuusin, dili worthy is Sen. Sotto sa iyang position. Compared to Secretary Judy, mas daghan pa ni nabuhat sa katawhan sa pila ka bulan niya isip Secretary sa Department of Social Welfare and Development Office (Senator Sotto does not deserve his position compared to Secretary Judy. She did more for the people in a few months as a DSWD Secretary),” Sapar added.
Calling his line of questioning as "on a lighter note" Sotto asked Taguiwalo about her personal information, particularly her having two daughters.
"But you're single?" Sotto asked when Taguiwalo confirmed she has two.
"I've never had a 'normal family', if that's how you call it, growing up. But it's a non-issue," Secretary Taguiwalo said.
That was when Sotto delivered his bomb, saying, "Ah kasi sa amin, if you have kids, tapos wala kang asawa ang tawag diyan 'na-ano lang',"
Sotto then played up to the laughter of the audience. Secretary Taguiwalo set him straight.
"Senator, I teach women's studies in UP. The definition of a family also includes solo parents. Thank you," she said.
Sotto later insisted it was a joke and that the people just did not get it.