Come on, let’s not kid ourselves, ok? You expect a certain level of decorum from senators not only because they are tasked to create new laws of the land, but also they represent the millions who elected them. They are always in the public eye. Everything that they say or do bears the weight of the public office they are holding.
So, when you see them blurting out inappropriate jokes or acting more like buddies in the locker room than lawmakers of the upper house, you tend to be disappointed. It takes a lot of energy to restrain your parent side to pull them in the corner and say, “that’s not how you say things, senator, darling.”
Case in point: the four-termer senator, and current majority floor leader, Tito Sotto. Let’s review his, uhm, Sottoisms and maybe suggest on how he should have said his piece given that, you know, he’s a senator.
8. “The people who think this is plagiarism should think again. I did not copy it, I translated it. Do they know the spelling of ‘copy’ and ‘translate’? They have low IQ!”
Should be: “Thank you for the critique. I will try to improve my skills of putting my thoughts out with my own words.”
We all know too well that time when he can’t seem to apologize for his plagiarized speech. He defended that he translated Robert F. Kennedy’s speech and even said that he actually made a disclaimer about the quotes not being his own.
First of all, when you translate content, it is still plagiarism. Otherwise, di na magpapakapagod ang TV5 na bayaran ang rights ng mga pelikulang tinatagalog nila. Also, if you have already made a disclaimer, why would you need to defend your speech and explain how it is not a plagiarized one? It’s like failing to explain to your mother why you came home late: “Promise, nag-group study lang kami. Kita mo naman, hindi ako amoy beer at yosi. At, hindi yan pasa sa bugbugan, nadapa lang ako. Di niyo po ba alam ang spelling ng bugbugan at nadapa?”
7. “Grabe hindi lang reckless, ang tatanga. Kaya siguradong babagsak. Sa tunay na examination, 50 percent ng driver sa Pilipinas babagsak.”
Should be:“Let’s brainstorm on how we can improve implementing rules on the road.”
Whew! Ok. Hyperbole, fake statistics, derogatory words, narrow-minded definitions, admitting that the country has lower standards—you name it. But you might say, “Eh, that’s true naman. I feel the same way when I drive.” If we, ordinary citizens, are careful about saying bad things or wrong facts around children, what more a person who’s constantly on camera? Let the people take care of the angst so the lawmakers can focus on thinking ideas to solve the very problem he was complaining about.
Plus, ang hirap kaya i-prove ang katangahan. We’ve been trying to do that for four terms now.
6. “Ang may kasalanan ng lahat ng yan, yung pag-inom, yung pashot-shot. Kababae mong tao, shot-shot ka.”
Should be: “I am sorry for the harassment you went through, Nena.”
A senator does not stop becoming a senator when he steps out of the senate. Like that obtuse remark he quipped on noontime show Eat Bulaga. Take your pick—blaming the victim on national television, or influencing the audience towards that insensitive mindset—this has serious effect, aggravated by the fact that he holds a public office.
5. “Sa madaling salita, ibalik sa closet!”
Should be: “Let’s discuss your options regarding your situation, Diamond.”
Still on misguided advices, another Eat Bulaga episode saw a gay father asking for advice on how to spare his three children from being bullied. Jose Manalo suggested that he could change his look, to which Sotto seconded by suggesting he should get back in the closet.
Bigotry aside, I don’t think he would be asking for advice if ‘going back inside the closet’ was that easy. They even suggested that it’s frightening should his sons show signs that they are also gay.
That’s kinda hard to take from a noontime show which has three crossdressers, one of which recently admitted he’s gay. Or from a senator, who has the power to make a fairer country.
4. “Para ho sa kaalaman ng lahat… gimik ho ni Rey dela Cruz (Paloma’s manager) ‘yun. Hindi ho totoo ‘yun. Pinagtangkaan nilang magkaso kasi tinira sila ng libel nina Vic at Joey. Idinemanda sila ng libel kaya pinagtangkaan nilang balikan ng kaso,”
Should be: “We hope to discuss this in a more formal venue so we can finally close this issue.”
You’d think that being a senator for almost two decades, one would eventually learn how to act like one. When asked in a radio interview about Pepsi Paloma’s alleged rape and suicide, not only did he deny any involvement, he even accused that the whole thing was just a publicity stunt and blamed the death on drug abuse—this, even after the reported public apology by Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto, and Richie D’Horsie to Paloma.
And isn’t it convenient that both subjects of his accusations are already dead. For a lawmaker, especially one who has repeatedly claimed being a victim of cyberbullying, airing damaging accusations without hard evidence should be a no-no.
Kasi kung pwede pala, uhm, para po sa kaalaman ng lahat: hindi po ako nanloko sa aming dalawa ng ex ko. Sinasabi lang niya yan para pagtakpan na ninakawan niya ako ng cellphone, cash, at magic 8 ball.
3. “Maliwanag, nagko-contraceptives, nagbuntis. Yun ang issue.”
Should be: “I see some merit to the arguments of the opposing side.”
In his Turno en Contra speech during the discussion on RH Bill, Sotto cited a personal story. He attributed the neonatal complications and the death of his first son in 1975 to the Diane pills his wife was then taking. The only problem was Diane pills were first licensed in Europe in 1978.
Again, the law is reason and free from passion. We don’t need to resort to tear-jerking stories (especially, those that can be questioned) just to make a point. Kapag nagpapaalam sa mga magulang para sumama sa outing lang yan gumagana.
2. “In the street language, when you have children and you are single, ang tawag lang ay na-ano lang.”
Should be: “Good job on raising two wonderful kids on your own, Judy.”
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete with his recent faux pas. In senate confirmation hearing on Judy Taguiwalo’s appointment as DSWD Secretary, Sotto decided he has to make a quip when he ribbed her about her solo parent status.
Let’s say we forgive him for the joke and use a lame excuse like, it’s not really from him. Or that it is commonly a joke on the streets, But we can’t ignore the fact that he treats this usapang kanto as a joke and not a misogynist verbal assault, and he deemed it worthy of its precious space in the senate transcripts. That’s the kind of mindset we have in the senate ATM.
1. “That’s why kung minasama nila, I’m sorry, I apologize. They don’t understand the joke.”
— Nimfa R. Ravelo (@nimfaravelo) May 3, 2017
Should be: “That’s why kung minasama nila, I’m sorry, I apologize.”
Still on the same issue, he “apologized” in a way that, uhm, he really didn’t. When a comedian has to explain how his joke was funny and reason out that people just didn’t get it, you know there’s a problem with the joke—or the comedian.
It is not that people didn’t get the joke. They understood the joke. What they don’t understand is the need for the joke. There was no context on why it was brought up and it has no insight that added value to the ongoing hearing. So why? Was it a failed attempt to discount the secretary’s capacity to manage a relationship, let alone a department? Kinakabahan ba si Ka Judy kaya kailangan ng pampatanggal nerbyos? Nilipat na ba ang Eat Bulaga sa GSIS Building?
But most importantly, how should we react to this? Because, if we let this pass, there will come a time when no one will be able to differentiate between a joke and a misogynist remark. And no one will have to apologize anymore.
Got any more suggestions? Share them with us below!