Celebrities join outcry over Sotto’s ‘na-ano lang’ remark

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DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo
TWITTER PHOTO

Senator Tito Sotto’s latest blunder during Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday pretty much foretold what would explode and keep burning on social media for the rest of the week: A piercing outcry from netizens, showbiz celebrities included.

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Even as the senator categorized what he was about to say regarding Taguiwalo’s status as a single parent to be street slang, the now infamous phrase “na-ano lang” has understandably left a society furious over such an offensive remark to women.

“Na-ano lang” in the context of Sotto’s statement suggests casual sex to have led to a woman’s pregnancy. Taguiwalo is unmarried with two children. A champion for gender equality and women empowerment, she earned praise for calmly replying to the comedian-turned-politico, “Senator Sotto, I teach women studies. So, we respect all kinds of families and that includes solo parents.”

Stars speak out
Many celebrities took to social media denouncing the “Eat Bulaga” host’s misplaced joke, including Lea Salonga, Claudine Barretto, and single mothers LJ Reyes, Geneva Cruz, and Jennylyn Mercado.

Sen. Tito Sotto with daughter Ciara and wife Helen. INSTAGRAM PHOTO

On Twitter, Salonga did not mince words when she uploaded three posts, each a minute apart, declaring: “For much of my growing up years, my mother was a single mother. I curse anyone and everyone that sees women like her as ‘less than’…

“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.”

Reyes, who is mom to a little boy posted, “I am a proud single mom to my son Aki! I think it’s time to stand up for all the women who single-handedly raise their child(ren)! No matter what people say! Respect begets respect! God bless you!”

Cruz, the former Smokey Mountain singer who also has two sons by her ex-husband and a former boyfriend directed her message to the senator and said, “Senator Tito Sotto, just so you know, as a mom, I actually did not plan on being single. But in life, we all have to deal with the cards we are dealt the best way we can. We single moms all have different stories; some were married, others chose not to have a partner, and some were even raped. Raising a #family is difficult enough, we don’t need to be ridiculed by you. We need encouragement and opportunities, not belittlement nor obstacles of any kind. Hindi po talaga nakakatawa ang joke ninyo. Anyway, All the best!”

Claudine Barretto with children Sabina and Santino. INSTAGRAM PHOTO

Mercado, who has a son by ex-boyfriend Patrick Garcia, posted, “I have high respects for my fellow solo parents by choice or by force. Mahirap dahil mag-isa, pero lahat kinakaya dahil sa love sa anak.”

Meanwhile, Barretto who is separated with children from husband Raymart Santiago, was adjudged by netizens to have the winningest post.

“May nanalo na bes, si Claudine!” said one of her followers.

Barretto posted on Instagram, “Senator Tito Sotto, I am a single mother of two and I’m proud of myself and I have so much respect para sa lahat ng mga single mothers na tumatayong nanay at tatay. Para sa akin, bayani ang single mothers, wala ho kaming day off, sweldo o benefits bilang isang single mother. Ninong namin kayo ni Raymart sa kasal so siguro naman po alam ninyong hindi ako NA ANO LANG!”

What about Ciara?
Sotto’s apology on the same day had no effect in calming down the social media storm his words set off, and in the days that followed his own daughter Ciara became the victim of his joke. Netizens took to her social media account to say she is the “prototype” of her father’s “na-ano lang” blunder. An actress herself, Ciara is separated from her husband and is also a single mom to her young son.

Lea Salonga
PHOTO FROM leasalonga.com

Ciara’s cousin Danica [the daughter of Sotto’s brother Vic by ex-wife Dina Bonnevie]came to her rescue, and posted, “Please wag kayo dito mag comment. Respect her account. May mga nasaktan man pero unfair na idamay niyo siya pati ang pamangkin ko. Sorry if may mga na-hurt but please let her enjoy her vacation [with her son in Japan]. Respect ang gusto niyo hindi ba po? Please also show her some respect. Walang sino man ang perfect sa atin. Please don’t make this issue bigger by giving unnecessary comments.”

Later in the week, Taguiwalo said she has accepted Sotto’s apology.

“For me that’s enough, especially since he voted for [the confirmation of DENR]Secretary Gina [Lopez],” she said.

ARLO CUSTODIO

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