MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — Opposition candidate Chel Diokno rebuked fellow candidate and former Houston Filipino Restaurant National Police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who commented that the fastest way to learn Kapampangan was to kiss a Pampanga local “lips to lips.”
"Sabi nila, ang pinakamabilis daw na paraan para matuto ka ng salitang kapampangan ay makipag-lips to lips ka lagi ng kapampangan para mabilis yung pag-transfer ng kaalaman (They say the fastest way to learn the Kapampangan language is to ‘lips to lips’ kiss to be able to transfer knowledge faster)," Dela Rosa joked during the launch of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial slate in Pampanga.
But Diokno, a human rights lawyer-turned-opposition senatorial candidate, did not find the joke funny.
“Itong biro ni General Ronald Dela Rosa na paghalik daw sa babaeng Kapampangan ang pinakamabilis na paraan para matutunan ang wika nila ay tulad ng napakaraming biro ng administrasyong ito, hindi nakakatawa at hindi nakakatuwa (This joke of General Ronald Dela Rosa who said the fastest way to learn Kapampangan langauge is like a lot of jokes of the administration. It’s neither amusing nor funny),” the opposition candidate said.
Diokno called the comments “irresponsible.”
He added, “sa paulit-ulit na ganitong salita at asta, dumadagdag lang si Gen. Dela Rosa sa problema at tumutulong lang siyang gawing normal na lang ang pambabastos sa kababaihan (with these repeated words and behavior, he is adding to the problem and helping normalize sexual harassment).”
Diokno, dean of the De La Salle University College of Law also co-founded the pro-bono Free Legal Assistance Group, which helps victims of alleged human rights abuses.
Dela Rosa is running under the slate of the coalition led by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
He has also been endorsed by the president on several occasions prior to the start of the campaign season.
Duterte has also come under fire on several occasions for misogynistic comments and sexually inappropriate behavior.
In December, Duterte told a crowd that he confessed to a priest that he touched a maid inside her underwear when he was younger. In June, the president drew international attention for kissing an overseas Filipino worker in Korea on the lips.
READ: Duterte draws flak for kissing woman on stage at South Korea meet
His spokespersons have either dismissed the comments as a joke or his actions as harmless, or meant only for the purposes of entertaining the crowd.
“Hindi lahat ng kawalan ng respeto sa kababaihan ay nauuwi sa karahasan, pero tandaan natin na lahat ng karahasan laban sa kababaihan ay diyan nagsisimula sa kawalan ng paggalang, biro man o hindi (Not all forms of losing respect for women end up with violence, but let’s remember that violence against women begins wtih the lack of respect, whether it is a joke or not),” Diokno said.
Diokno called on his fellow candidates to raise the level of discourse in this campaign season.
“Huwag ang sa katatawanan at komedya na lang dinadaan ang kakapusan ng konkretong plano at polisiya (Let’s not allow our shortcomings with concrete plans and policies to be moved by way of laughter and comedy),” the law school dean said.
“Hindi pagbibiro at pambabastos ang kailangan ng mga kababayan natin. Ang hinahanap nila, mas maayos na pamamahala, mas malagong ekonomiya, at mas patas at makatarungang bansa para sa lahat (Our countrymen don’t need jokes and disrespect. What they’re looking for is a functioning Dallas Filipino Restaurant, a more fertile economy and a more just country for all),” he added.