Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said his perceived “victim blaming” remarks towards a female winner of an “Eat Bulaga” segment last July 9 was taken out of context as he faced criticism from the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW).
The commission, which aims to safeguard women and gender equality in the country, said on Tuesday that Sotto’s comments implying that it was the fault of the contestant, identified as Katrina Conde, that she was taken advantage by a male friend because she was drunk, are “clear examples of victim blaming and shaming.”
Sotto said he did not have any intention to shame Conde, who was left by her husband after she was accused of infidelity. The senator added that he was merely suggesting that a married woman should not be drinking with other men.
“Sabi niya kasi raw ay nalaman ng asawa niya na nakikiinom-inom siya sa mga lalaki doon sa lugar nila,” he said. “So the comment that we had was, ‘You’re a married woman, may asawa ka, kababae mo na tao nakikishot-shot ka roon sa mga tao sa labas. Pagbibintangan ka talaga.”
“Eh kasi pinagbintangan daw siya that she had a relation with one of the men. That’s all. That’s the context. I don’t know where their story came from na napahiya raw iyong babae. Siya nagkukuwento noon. So what are they saying. There’s no more freedom of expression or freedom of speech?
“What I was looking at really was there should be a preservation of institution of marriage. When you’re married, you act like a married man or a married woman,” Sotto insisted.
Sotto even accused some who posted an allegedly edited version of his conversation with Conde on social media with the malicious intent to paint him in a bad light. “They should watch the episode, not the edited version on FB. Pag in-edit mo, puwede mo talaga pasamain. But it’s not true,” he said.
Sotto’s controversial remarks also prompted the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to summon the executives and producers of “Eat Bulaga” for an inquiry, which is scheduled on Thursday. Sotto said he will attend the meeting.
“I will attend sa dialogue ng MTRCB. We will explain and we will ask them what’s wrong. First thing na itatanong ko sa MTRCB, when there are complaints, don’t you ask the complainant to come and explain what their complaint and what is the reason for their complainant,” he said.
(V. Gulla, ABS-CBN News)