If you ask me how Eat Bulaga host (since netizens find it no more fitting to call him ‘Senator’) Tito Sotto got into the senate, the answer would be a clear-cut “na-ano lang.” Today, during the appointment hearing of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, the Senator made a personal attack against the Secretary the Eat Bulaga way.
Inquiring Taguiwalo about her two daughters and her being a single parent, Sotto stated, backed up with the laughter from the “Daberkads” inside the hall, that “in the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag ay na-ano lang.” While this may be considered a joke for some, Taguiwalo, who had enough credentials to understand that it was an insult than a joke, stayed tight-lipped while Sotto smiled in the most, as what most netizens consider, “punchable” way possible.
And since the TV host is very concerned of the personal information about Taguiwalo, it is also but fair to dedicate a part of this opinion piece in examining the senator’s personal background.
Attached to his name, of course, is Pepsi Paloma who was allegedly drugged and gang-raped by two of his friends Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, and Richie D’Horsey. Tito Sotto, however, allegedly became involved as she forced Paloma to sign an affidavit of desistance, dropping the complaint made versus the three suspects. Last year, Sotto, in his attempt to cleanse his reputation, described the incident as a mere “gimmick” by Paloma’s manager.
As if these were not enough, another issue circulated about Sotto’s plagiarized speech during the Reproductive Health Bill debate. United States blogger Sarah Pope said that Sotto used a part of her speech without attributing her. Apart from this, the Senator has also allegedly translated into Tagalog a quote from US Senator Robert Kennedy.
Despite this rather controversial background, along with his remarks on the LGBT community, Tito Sotto dared to run for the Senate and stay there as though he was deaf of some people’s complains about his qualifications and, most remarkably, his ability to reason. Also appalling was how, when seated in front of an activist and women’s right advocate, he was able to come up with an insult that hits not only Taguiwalo but also the rest of the single parents in the country who he conveniently described as “na-ano lang.”
These statements by the comedian manifest how we had put an insensitive man in the Senate, and it is surprising how most of the Filipinos have realized it just now. How many jokes and insults does the senator have to make to convince us that he does not deserve our respect? How many remarks against women and the LGBT community does he have to express to agitate us? How many issues surrounding rape and plagiarism does he have to commit to tell us that in choosing a Senator, popularity should be the last factor voters should consider?
Here is an appointed Secretary who fought for the right of the women, who admittedly went underground during Martial Law, who was imprisoned for defending her country, yet here is a man – with a questionable reputation – who reduced her into someone who is “just knocked up.” Perhaps we should not be questioning Taguiwalo’s qualification but that of Senator Sotto.
With the rejection of Gina Lopez as DENR Secretary and with the suspension of the decision for Secretary Taguiwalo’s appointment, one would spot that something wrong is going on in the Senate and in the Congress. It is now a question of whether or not we are brave enough to show our disappointment and make them realize that we have elected law makers that would put a dirt in our already stained country.