Gabriela rep backs Duterte: Ganun talaga mga Bisaya

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But Senator Pia Cayetano disagrees with Duterte's catcalling


MANILA - Is catcalling a form of sexual harassment? Two female backers of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte have conflicting opinions on the matter.

Outgoing Senator Pia Cayetano, sister of Duterte's running mate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, said she will continue to support Duterte but takes exception to his catcalling of a reporter in a recent press conference.

"I support the President but I don't agree with the whistling," Cayetano tweeted in response to a Twitter user.

On the other hand, Gabriela party-list Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, who ran for councilor of Davao in the May polls, said catcalling is "not a form of sexual harassment."

Duterte, 71, has come under fire for catcalling TV reporter Mariz Umali during a press conference Tuesday.

Umali was asking Duterte about his Cabinet appointee when the president-elect interrupted her with a light-hearted comment about her trying to get his attention, then wolf-whistling and breaking into a short serenade.

Umali continued to ask her question as Duterte smiled and some other reporters laughed. She later said she did not expect an apology from Duterte.

Umali's husband, TV reporter Raffy Tima, took to Facebook to criticize Duterte.

"Catcalling my wife is wrong in so many levels," he wrote. "Some jokes are funny and should be laughed at but disrespecting women is definitely not one of them."

Duterte later told reporters catcalling in public is part of freedom of expression, denying claims that he violated Davao City's Gender and Development Code by disrespecting a married reporter of GMA-7.

"You know, you don't have any business stopping me every time I (whistles). That is freedom of expression," he said, adding that whistling is not sexual harassment.

READ: Duterte: Whistling is not sexual

NO TO CATCALLING

In her Twitter account, Senator Cayetano said she does not condone catcalling, and that she cannot answer for Duterte since she is not the president-elect's spokesperson.

She also said that she is not one of Duterte's advisers.

When asked by another Twitter user if she would tell off Duterte for his acts, Cayetano responded: "What I say to the President, I will tell him personally, not on Twitter."

Cayetano is known for her advocacy on women's rights and pushing for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law. She has been elected congresswoman of Taguig.

'GANOON TALAGA ANG MGA BISAYA'

On the other hand, Ilagan backed Duterte's explanation that catcalls are not sexual harassment.

"It's not sexual harassment. Whistling is not a form of sexual harassment...Siguro improper lang siya na behavior under the circumstances na hindi dapat ganoon," she said.

"If you are calling the attention of this reporter, you could have used the other way... We have to accept that our President is different and he is working under a cultural way of communicating.. Ganoon naman talaga ang mga Bisaya. They are sarcastic. We exaggerate. We make fun, pero accepted naman talaga. It's just a manner of speaking but not the thought, it's not the content."

Ilagan, who earlier voiced support for Duterte's candidacy, said the president-elect should have a moderator in future press conferences.

"I suggest he should have a moderator, also isali rin yung mukha ng mga nagtatanong. Hindi lang nakafocus sa kanya para makita natin yung gestures," she said.

Duterte's own spokesman, Salvador Panelo, has said Umali should instead take the president-elect's whistling as a compliment since it only means that the Davao City mayor "loves" her.

"Mayor Duterte is a very kind, playful individual. Pag siya'y pumito, ibig sabihin he's fond of you, ibig sabihin mahal ka niya, kaya ka binibiro. Hindi po isang pambabastos yun. On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented," Panelo said.

"The fact alone na nagtawanan yung mga tao eh ibig sabihin nun that expression was meant to be a joke and also as a compliment," he added.

READ: Duterte's wolf-whistling a compliment - Panelo

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