Tito Sotto, 'Eat Bulaga' execs attend MTRCB meeting on 'victim-blaming' issue

MANILA, Philippines – A conference about senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III's alleged gender-insensitive remarks on Eat Bulaga was held on July 21, and according to the senator, it went smoothly.

The Movie and Television Regulation and Classification Board (MTRCB) summoned the executives of Television and Production Exponents (TAPE), Inc, the production studio running Eat Bulaga: Antonio P Tuviera, President and General Manager; Malou Choa-Fagar, Senior Vice President and Executive Producer; and Jeny P Ferre, Senior Vice President and Creative Head.

Sotto attended – even though he said that he wasn't invited – "to make [himself] clear," as reported by PEP.

In a text message to Rappler, MTRCB Chairman Eugenio Villareal explained that Sotto wasn't invited because the board's jurisdiction deals with programs and not personalities. At the meeting, he said, the TAPE executives were asked to present their side regarding the remarks Sotto made during the July 9 Eat Bulaga episode.

"It went well," Sotto commented on the conference's proceedings in a text message to Rappler.

He argued that the complaints targeted against him over social media were "unfounded" as they didn't see the entire episode. The MTRCB called for the meeting after receiving several complaints from social media users. (READ: Tito Sotto reacts to 'victim-blaming' issue on 'Eat Bulaga')

"[The MTRCB] watched the entire episode and saw that the allegations or concerns [were] being raised by persons who did not even see the episode, therefore, do not know the context of what was transpiring, [and] are unfounded to say the least."

He added, "It was highlighted by the fact that what I said was my opinion. 'I do not approve of married women drinking with other men other than their husbands. Mapapagbintangan ka nga! (You will really be blamed!) The husband got jealous and left her. My comment is my opinion."

"The last I heard we still are in a democracy and we have a freedom of speech and expression. I'm a 100% prude when it comes to the protection of the institution of marriage."

Settling the issue

When asked if the matter has been settled with the MTRCB, Sotto said, "I asked kung settled na – I think so."

"Ang (The) allegation is that we were victim-blaming," he noted, further insisting: "She was not a victim. She was a winner. She never said or admitted that she was abused by anyone. It was simple jealousy of the husband because she always does 'pa shot shot'. Her son said so, too."

"Panoorin nila [nang] buo at hindi [yung] edited version ng mga galit sa 37 years ng [Eat Bulaga]."

(They should watch the full version and not the edited version of those who are mad about 37 years of Eat Bulaga.)

Meanwhile, the MTRCB chairman Eugenio Villareal told Rappler through text that TAPE answered the MTRCB's panel's questions for a "clear and accurate account of what transpired during the subject episode."

The studio also promised to submit a letter to the board by July 28, with more details on the incident as well as any action they've already taken to adopt that would promote the Magna Carta of Women (Republic Act 9710) and the MTRCB Charter (Presidential Decree 1986).

"The MTRCB acknowledges the cooperation of Eat Bulaga and Senator Sotto's initiative at yesterday's conference before the panel chaired by Board Member (Atty) Noel del Prado," added Villareal.

'Victim-blaming' issue

During the Eat Bulaga episode in question, the "Juan for All, All for Juan" segment winner shared how her male friend had taken advantage of her when she was drunk. The incident can be seen in this video at around the 29-minute mark.

Sotto then suggested the woman shouldn't have been drinking in the first place: "Kasalanan ng lahat ng 'yan ng pag-inom... Kababae mong tao pa shot shot ka (That's all because of drinking. You're a woman and you're doing shots?)"

Sotto's remarks did not sit well with some people, who aired their views on social media. They said it was a way of "promoting rape culture" and "victim-blaming," as well as misogynism.

Prior to the meeting, Sotto told Rappler that he was "was merely moralizing for the protection of [the] institution of marriage," and had welcomed the MTRCB conference. – with reports from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com