MANILA — Senatorial aspirant Samira Gutoc on Monday defended her recent expression of gratitude for party-list nominee Mocha Uson despite their bitter history.
Gutoc thanked Uson, a known supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, when she joined the Aksyon Demokratiko party's campaign rally in Cavite on Friday and endorsed its standard bearer Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.
Gutoc, who is part of Domagoso's Senate slate, previously criticized Uson for alleged red-tagging and a mass gathering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In that moment of Cavite rally, she just spoke. She said yung kanyang adbokasiya pointed to the women. I acknowledged that. In the middle po that... out of the spur of the moment, [I said], 'Thank you Mocha sa pagsabi mo on women and children,''" Gutoc told ANC's Headstart.
(She declared that her advocacy pointed to the women. I acknowledged that. In the middle of... out of the spur of the moment, I said, 'Thank you Mocha for speaking on behalf of women and children.)
"It’s not like an endorsement, not like, 'Wow you’re my model.' Mutual is—yung she was also saying, 'Samira ganyan ka pala (So this is who you are Samira).' We were on that stage smiling and it was blown out of proportion."
Gutoc added that she was unaware of the organizers' decision to include Uson in the rally.
"When you are graced by a visitor, you also welcome with graceness. I could’ve left but we are in that moment and I respect this was the decision of the organizers, which I got to know later pa," she said.
In 2019, Gutoc failed to secure a Senate seat under opposition slate "Otso Diretso," which Uson had criticized several times on her Facebook page that boasted millions of followers.
STAND ON OTHER ISSUES
Gutoc during the ANC interview shared her stand on several issues.
She said she believed abortion should not be made easily accessible and that she "wont be promoting abortion even if I am a feminist."
"I know that teenage pregnancy is a reality of the day and many can’t take responsibility. Abortion shouldn’t be as freely offered as other countries. I would always echo the Civil Code. Our family is our institution, primacy of children, primacy of our life as human beings," she said.
"I know from my Muslim faith, if it's the woman’s life’s at risk--and from my law readings--abortion can be justified."
Gutoc added that she supported divorce.
"Respeto po sa ating Church but I saw in 2019 and as a woman organizer nahihirapan po sila sa present na annulment and legal procedures na napakabagal po," she said.
(I respect the Catholic Church but I saw in 2019 and as a woman organizer that women find difficult the extremely slow annulment and legal procedures.)
"As solo parent 'di nila makuha ang papel para sila ay maka-justify na DSWD beneficiary po sila. A divorce fast tracks that circumstance na inabandon na sila."
(They cannot as a solo parent get documents to justify that they're a DSWD beneficiary. A divorce fast tracks proving that circumstance, that they've been abandoned.)
Gutoc, however, said she cannot support same-sex marriage.
"Transparent ako (I'm transparent) to the LGBT community, that is something that I cannot accept openly. I am for anti-discrimination, I push also for recognition of the civil code rights of every property of a couple of the same gender," she said.
The Moro civic leader also clarified her earlier statement on Duterte's drug war, saying that it was "remarkable, remembrable," for which she was criticized.
"It should be a program, it’s a project we’re doing in the community. The implementation on having extrajudicial killings definitely warrant an investigation," she said.
"It's still wanting of investigation for the victims. Drug addiction has to be addressed at the core and rehabilitation at the core of funding."