“Hindi po isang pambabastos yun.”
Atty. Salvador Panelo explained President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's catcalling GMA News anchor and reporter Mariz Umali.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, the presidential spokesperson said the incoming president did not mean to offend the female journalist when he whistled at her during a press conference in Davao City last Tuesday, May 31.
Panelo said about Duterte's behavior, “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.”
Instead of being offended, Panelo said, “On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented.”
He further explained, “The fact alone na nagtawanan yung mga tao, e, ibig sabihin nun that expression was meant to be a joke and also as a compliment.”
Mariz's husband Raffy Tima, also a GMA News anchor and reporter, turned to Facebook to call out president-elect Duterte for catcalling his wife.
Raffy said, “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.”
Since he was not in the venue, Raffy also noted the reaction of the people present at the press conference.
He said, “Most laughed, others made teasing noise and basically urged the mayor to dish some more! And he did. I do hope none of them were journalists because if they were, shame on them.”
In her interview on News To Go today, June 2, Mariz said that no one from Duterte's group approached her to apologize for the incident.
She added, “It may have been improper for a president-elect but, of course, we will continue to do our job and we are not expecting any apology from him personally.”