Militant women’s group Gabriela wants Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III to apologize for his malicious remarks against Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, joking about her being a solo parent.
“Gabriela Women’s Party takes much offense, in behalf of solo parents, women raising their children amid difficult circumstances at Sen. Vicente Sotto III’s tirades as he raised questions at the CA’s hearing on the appointment of DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo,” Gabriela said in a statement posted on their social media accounts.
“The senator clearly went out of bounds, insinuating malice at Taguiwalo who raised her two children as a solo parent, dubbing such as “na-ano,”” it said.
“Solo parents, including the DSWD secretary should in no way be at the receiving end of such insults. We demand a public apology from the senator,” Gabriela added.
Earlier during the confirmation hearing at the CA Committee on Labor, Employment and Social Welfare, Sotto asked Taguiwalo, University of the Philippines professor and activist, how come she has two children if she’s single.
Taguiwalo said, “My life has never been a normal one. I’ve never had a whole ‘mother-father-children’ kind of thing except when I was growing up in Bacolod. Remember, I graduated from UP in 1970, I did organizing work. From 1972 up to the 1986, it has been a life underground or in prison. So, my story would be different from the stories of those who have gone through corporation.”
Sotto then replied, “In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag lang ay na-ano lang,” as the room was filled with laughter.
Taguiwalo answered back, ”Senator Sotto, I teach women’s studies in UP so we respect all kinds of families, and that includes solo parents. Thank you.”
The party-list group also commended Taguiwalo for standing her ground amid insults.
“She is an inspiration to marginalized women and is more than deserving of a confirmation from the CA,” it said.