Panelo: Duterte’s wolf whistle a compliment

Marbbie C. Tagabucba - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – Incoming presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo defended President-elect Rodrigo Duterte from the recent wolf whistling at the female television reporter during a press conference on Tuesday.

Panelo said Duterte did not mean to offend GMA-7 reporter Mariz Umali and mentioned that the wolf whistle was a joke and compliment as the president-elect is known to be “playful” and meant that he loves the receiver of the joke.

"Mayor Duterte is a very kind, playful individual. Pag siya'y pumito, ibig sabihin he's fond of you, ibig sabihin mahal ka niya, kaya ka binibiro. Hindi po isang pambabastos yun. On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented," Panelo said.

"The fact alone na nagtawanan yung mga tao eh ibig sabihin nun that expression was meant to be a joke and also as a compliment," he added.

On the other hand, Umali’s husband and GMA-7 reporter, Raffy Tima, found Duterte’s act offensive. He said catcalling his wife was inappropriate but “expected.”

In his Facebook post, Tima said the audience’s reactions also appalled him citing that some present at the venue “laughed and even made teasing noises and urged the president-elect to dish some more.”

“I expected that from a Mayor Duterte. I know his reputation well enough not to be shocked by it, but that does not make it right. For someone who espouses leadership by example, catcalling anyone in a press conference with all cameras trained on him defies logic,” Tima said.

“Some jokes are funny and should be laughed at... but disrespecting women is definitely not one of them,” he concluded.

For her part, Umali said the president-elect’s act is improper but she said she did not expect an apology from his camp.

"It may have been improper from a president-elect but, of course, we will continue to do our job and we are not expecting any apology from him personally," Umali said in a televised interview.

"From their end, walang lumapit o nakipag-usap man lang. I'm not expecting any apology pero wala man lang nakipag-usap from their end," she replied when asked for the aftermath of the press conference.

Duterte drew flak from netizens and other journalists when he wolf whistled Umali, saying that catcalling a woman publicly with words having dirty connotations is a form of sexual harassment based on Article 1 Section 8 of Davao City Ordinance No. 5004 or “The Women's Development Code of Davao City.” —Rosette Adel


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