Women's groups file ethics complaint vs Sotto over 'na-ano' gaffe

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 10) — Several women's groups filed an ethics complaint against Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Wednesday, following the remark he made on the confirmation proceedings of Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

The groups, who also represent solo parents, include the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific, World March of Women, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan, Purple Action for Indigenious Women's Rights, Partido Manggagawa, WomanHealth Philippines, and Sentro ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas.

"Ang pangunahin naming layunin sa pagsasampa ng aming reklamo ay maunawaan ng publiko na ang aming pinaglaban...sa pagprotekta sa karapatan ng mga kababaihan ay hindi dapat binabalewala lalo na ng mga pinuno sa ating pamahalaan lalo na ng mga lehislador," said Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Executive Director Jean Enriquez.

[Translation:Our primary goal in filing the complaint is for the public to understand our fight…that protecting women's rights should not be ignored by government leaders, especially the legislators.]

The complaint was filed with the Senate Ethics Committee, chaired by Sotto himself.

According to the women's groups, they believe the senator was not sincere in his apology when he asked Taguiwalo on her comment that she was "na-ano lang," referring to the so-called street language for single parents.

They demanded a commensurate sanction against Sotto, including his inhibition as chairman of the Ethics committee, and for him to undergo a gender sensitivity training.

Women leaders from various cause-oriented groups also took note of those who laughed at the so-called Sotto joke during the confirmation proceedings, which included other members of the Commission on Appointments.

The complaint was filed a day after a separate group of solo parents met with Sotto, urging him to be their champion as they push for the Solo Parents Act in the Senate.