Liza Diño: Duterte should apologize for catcalling

MANILA, Philippines – Liza Diño, a vocal supporter of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte, said on Facebook that Duterte should apologize to GMA 7 reporter Mariz Umali because he offended her with his whistling during a press conference last May 31. (READ: Catcalling: Duterte broke the law in own city)

In her post on Friday, June 3, Diño started by saying that she has long defended the tough-talking Duterte because he is often taken out of context by the media. She admitted that "diplomat-speak" is not one of the president-elect's strengths.

"But in the same way that I defend him by using context – HIS CONTEXT – as his defense to get away with misinterpretations, it is the very same reason why I believe that what he did to Mariz Umali is inappropriate," the actress continued.

At the May 31 press conference, Duterte interrupted a question from Umali by joking that she was trying to get his attention and then wolf-whistled and sang to her.

In an interview with her network, GMA, following the incident, Umali said about Duterte's remarks: "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's husband, Raffy Tima, also expressed on Facebook that he thought what Duterte did was wrong: "Catcalling my wife is wrong on so many levels. 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."

At a June 3 press conference, Duterte said that whistling is not sexually suggestive and that his actions were protected by his right to freedom of expression.

Umali said that she didn't expect an apology from the president-elect, and Diño explained why she thought Duterte's actions warranted one.

"From his mouth towards a receiver – the burden of CONTEXT now lies NOT WITH HIM, but with Mariz. And Mariz said and felt it was IMPROPER.

"Whether what he did in his own perspective is intentional or not, the fact that the receiver felt it was IMPROPER should be enough reason to warrant an apology. Not necessarily because she was 'harassed,' or she was 'sexually abused' but because she was OFFENDED. Kahit hindi sinasadya, naoffend sya, so nararapat lang na humingi sya ng dispensa (Even if it wasn't on purpose, she was still offended, so it's just right that she should ask for an apology)."


Diño and her partner Aiza Seguerra have been vocal supporters of Duterte since before the elections, campaigning for him at rallies and on social media.


Diño mentioned that she was asked on Twitter what she'd do if she was in Umali's shoes.

"IF I find it offensive, then I would call him out for it on the spot. But that's me," she said.

She further explained that just because she doesn't agree with the president-elect's actions it does not mean that she no longer supports him.

"Look, our president is not perfect. Who is?" she said on Facebook. "At one point or another, he's bound to make mistakes. But not agreeing with him doesn't mean I don't support him, in the same way that supporting him doesn't mean I always have to agree with him."

Diño said that it's okay to have a different opinions as long as respect is maintained, before ending her post with the hashtag "#PositivePhilippines."

Since becoming president-elect, Duterte's words and actions have caused controversy.

On May 31, Duterte said that he hasn't appointed vice president-elect Leni Robredo to a Cabinet position because he didn't want to offend his friend and Robredo's election rival Bongbong Marcos Jr.

On the same day, Duterte came under fire from various groups after saying that corrupt journalists deserve to die. His presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, had said that the president-elect was only positing a possible reason for why journalists in the Philippines are killed. 

Duterte starts his term as the 16th President of the Republic of the Philippines on June 30. He expressed his desire to have his oath-taking in the Office of the President in Malacañang Palace "kasi walang gastos (because we won't need to spend)," and promised to give only a 5-minute speech. (READ: Duterte promises ‘5-minute’ inauguration speech– with reports from Agence France-Presse and Pia Ranada/