The insensitivity of Senator Tito Sotto

May 8, 2017 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

Lately, Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III drew flak from the netizens all over the social media due to his irresponsible remarks about solo parents. During the hearing on the appointment of Judy Taguiwalo as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Sotto asked her why she had two children when her civil status is “single”. He then said, ” In street language, ikaw ay na-ano.” His statement drew laughters from the crowd inside the hall, but not to the netizens who were glued to their television sets awaiting the confirmation of Taguiwalo.
Sotto, before he became a senator starred in comedy films with his brother Vic and Joey De Leon. He’s a comedian whose punchlines were “bentang-benta sa masa.” But, he’s a senator. As such, he’s not in his noontime show “Eat Bulaga” where his comedic antics  elicit laughters from the audience. He was in an august body that is composed of elected ” honorables” who are supposed to talk and act decently with proper decorum. Sotto apparently could not separate himself from being a comedian, putting him in hot water.
 Being a solo parent is not a laughing matter. Solo parents if they have their ways would not like to be in that situation especially the hardships of raising children by themselves. They’re victims of circumstances and of not having solid foundation on relationships with their partners. I have many friends who are solo parents. I admired them for their show of love and care to their children. I’ve seen them working hard to send their children to school and of providing them with their needs. They don’t deserve to be laughingstocks. They need at least compassion and understanding. Solo parents are heroes in the eyes of their children, and from us could we not look at them that way too?
 While there were senate hearings that I admired Senator Sotto because of his principles, this time I was dismayed over his remarks about solo parents. Although he said that in ” street language”, his statement was uncalled for. He should have respect for Taguiwalo who worked hard for her position and in raising her children as good citizens in the country. Besides, her being a solo parent has nothing to do with her work as DSWD Secretary.

Although Sotto apologized publicly, the furor has not settled yet. He’s still the subject of tirades not only from solo parents but from all walks of life. His insensitivity does not sit well among the Filipinos. Wasn’t he the one who plagiarized his speech in the Senate House? He also figured out in many faux pas when the Reproductive Health Bill was still being passed into law. At the very least, we expect him to act statesmanly. He should also revisit the “Solo Parent Act” to be awakened from his lapses.
As of this writing, Agnes Callamard, United Nations (UN) special rapporteur on extra judicial killings is in the country. Callamard was the keynote speaker during  a two-day drug policy forum at the University of the Philippines (UP). She said her being in the country was not on official trip by the UN. This means that she’s in the Philippines by herself and not to meddle with the affairs of the Philippine government under President Duterte.
I am amused of her statements though. She said ” countering the global narcotics problem require effective approaches unlike the war on drugs already recognized as harmful by world leaders”. By golly, here’s a woman who talks about war on drugs but nary a word on what are the effective approaches to be done. Who is she to criticized the policy of President Duterte on his war on drugs?
Although it’s true that there were countries that failed in their war on drugs, their approaches may not be that effective. Do they have Operation Double Barrel, Oplan Tokhang and Oplan High Value Target? Duterte’s approach on war on drugs maybe quite different of what other countries have undertaken.
Callamard has been invited before by the Duterte administration to visit the Philippines and conduct in depth investigation on the approaches on war on drugs. She declined the invitation and now she sneaked in into the country incognito. What were her basis of saying that the war on drugs in this country was ineffective? Callamard had relied on video footage, news clippings, interviews with the oppositions, etc. She has no first hand information on the ins and outs of war on drugs under the Duterte administration. Or, is she being used by the opposition to cripple the administration of President Duterte.
We are a sovereign nation. No foreigner could intervene on how to govern the Philippines. Although, the country is a member of the UN, it does not mean that it could just send an emissary to look into the affairs of the country and criticize the administration. Callamard had criticized President Duterte on extra judicial killings (EJKs), which has been denied a long time ago. She should contact the right persons in the government in order to have a clear view on what’s happening in the country.
Well, even with the presence of Callamard, who’s allegedly on academic visit, President Duterte announced that his war on drugs will continue. This is a signal to UN and Callamard that Duterte is dead serious in pursuing a non-conventional approach to end illegal drugs in the country. And who would know the best approach if not Duterte himself?
(For comments and suggestions, email me at Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at

Entry filed under: News.

EDITORIAL: Paano na ang ating kalikasan? HLURB approves Dagupan’s CLUP, zoning ordinance

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