MANILA – One of the academicians who filed an ethics complaint against Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Wednesday criticized the senator for his "insincere" apology to the Kennedy family.
Kerry Kennedy earlier wrote Sotto a letter demanding an apology for the latter's use of the words of her father, the late US Senator Robert Kennedy, in his turno en contra speech on the controversial reproductive health (RH) bill.
Sotto eventually said sorry, but added that "copying or imitation is the highest form of flattery. If it upsets the Kennedy family, I'm sorry. But that is not the intention that we have."
Dr. Sylvia Estrada-Claudio, University of the Philippines Center for Women’s Studies Director, said Sotto's apology did not show any remorse at all.
For her, the senator's words were as good as not saying sorry at all.
"Yung tungkol kay Kennedy, kung pansinin niyo ang sorry, siguro ho sabi nga ng isang nabasa ko sa Twitter, dahil may salitang sorry ang sentence hindi ibig sabihin apology iyun. It did not sound like an apology," Claudio told dzMM.
Claudio also appealed to Sotto to face the complaint and not invoke his parliamentary immunity, as provided by the Constitution.
She asked that the Senate leadership, particularly the Ethics and Privileges Committee, impose the sanctions Sotto deserves.
"We also ask the Senate committee on ethics and privileges dun sa rules nila na kung ang senador ay nagdala ng kahihiyan sa Senado ay talagang dapat siya ay bigyan ng parusa. Kasi hindi lang po kahihiyan ng Senado ito, kahihiyan din po ito ng ating bayan," she said.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of the ethics committee, said that the Senate will soon come up with its code of ethics following failed attempts to draft it in the past.
Claudio is also confident that many Filipinos are rallying behind the complainants, as shown by the reactions on social media.
"Karamihan po ay sang-ayon sa aming ginawa. Itinataguyod ito ng marami pa sa iba nating kapwa mamamayan. Hindi na siguro namin iwi-withdraw [ang complaint] even if he apologizes.
"Although sa akin po, isa lang ang dapat niyang hakbang, isa sa mga hinihingi namin ay apology, isang maganda at fully gracious apology. Pero humihingi na rin kami sana na may pagdadagdag na displina," she said.
Claudio also reiterated that while the complaint stemmed from Sotto's speeches on the RH bill, the complaint was, in no way, triggered by any ire against Sotto's opposition to the controversial bill.