Taguiwalo daughter: 'No woman deserves that kind of treatment.'
MANILA - (UPDATED) Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Wednesday needled Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo for having two daughters outside marriage.
Sotto brought up Taguiwalo's status as a solo parent during her confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments (CA), where the bicameral body assessed whether or not her cabinet posting should be affirmed.
"On the lighter side, Sen. Drilon and I were looking at the personal information about you and you have 2 children, daughters ba or sons? Two daughters. But you're single," Sotto told Taguiwalo.
Taguiwalo answered in the affirmative, saying: ""My life has never been a normal one. I never had a whole mother-father-children kind of thing, except when I was growing up in Bacolod."
She explained that she was a student activist in the University of the Philippines during the Martial Law years.
Taguiwalo, a human rights victim during the Marcos regime, then said she spent her life in the underground and in prison from 1972 to 1986.
"My story will be different from the stories of those who have gone through UP, corporation, et cetera," she said.
Sotto's response was reminiscent of his noontime show jokes: "In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag doon ay 'na-ano lang.'"
Several people in the room laughed at Sotto's remarks while Taguiwalo merely pursed her lips.
Taguiwalo, a former UP professor, then told the senator, "Mr. Sotto, I teach Women's Studies so we respect all kinds of families, and that includes solo parents."
Despite the joke, Sotto said he backed Taguiwalo.
"You have my 100 percent support," Sotto said as the titters subsided.
A daughter of Taguiwalo, who requested not to be named, took offense over Sotto's remarks and demanded a public apology for her mother.
"I think my mom deserves a public apology from Tito Sotto... No woman deserves that kind of treatment," she said.
Sotto's comments also drew comments online, with several scoring him for sexism and misogyny.