Broadway star Lea Salonga decried those who look down on single mothers, saying they deserve a “special place in hell,” just an hour after Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III joked about Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo having kids out of wedlock.
At her confirmation hearing Wednesday, Sotto asked Taguiwalo whether she was single after seeing that she has two kids.
Taguiwalo replied that her life has never been a “normal one,” before Sotto decided to make a quip and used a colloquial Tagalog phrase to describe her as “na-ano lang.”
The controversial exchange appeared to have prompted a response from Salonga, who took toTwitter to share that she was raised by a her mother, Ligaya Salonga, single-handedly.
“For much of my growing-up years, my mother was a single mother,” she wrote. “I curse anyone and everyone that sees women like her as ‘less than’.”
She added: “My husband was, for much of his upbringing, raised by a single mother. I curse anyone that sees women like her as ‘less than’. For those that look down upon these beloved ladies, there’s a special place in hell for the likes of you.”
Others who were disturbed by Sotto’s remarks include director Antoinette Jadaone and screenwriter Anj Pessumal, who worked on movies “Starting Over Again” and “English Only, Please.”
Comedian Pokwang also blasted Sotto, saying that the reason she is a single mother is because the father of her daughter didn’t have the guts to own up to the responsibility.
“Sa lahat ng single mom sa buong mundo, mabuhay tayong lahat!!! Yahooo! God bless us all,” she wrote, before adding: “Hindi po ako na-ano lang! Naging single mom ako kasi wala pong bayag ang lalaking minahal ko! Pero binuhay ko ng marangal mga anak ko!”
For her part, actress Janine Gutierrez tweeted: “My respect to all the single mothers who take on the immense responsibility of successfully raising children on their own.”
Gabriela Women’s Party criticized Sotto, saying that the senator “went out of bounds” in pointing out that the cabinet appointee had children outside marriage.
Sotto has already apologized but pointed out that those panning him for his remarks “didn’t understand” his joke.
Saying he would be the last to disrespect women, Sotto explained that he meant nothing malicious in raising Taguiwalo’s status as a solo parent, adding that two of his daughters are also single mothers.
Sotto’s name was the most talked about topic on Twitter, even hours after the hearing concluded. (abs-cbn)