MANILA, Philippines – A word war erupted between the spokesmen of the President and the former first gentleman on Twitter Saturday, October 27 — and it’s not about their principals.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda called Jose Miguel Arroyo’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, a “bigot” after the latter called Press Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III a “faggot” on the microblogging site.
“Ferdie Topacio is a BIGOT! Same guy who said the Holocaust never happened!” Lacierda posted on his Twitter account.
Topacio replied, saying, “You can’t talk without subtracting from the sum total of human knowledge, my friend. Stick to your stuttering.”
What triggered the word war? A blog post that Quezon wrote months ago, when the impeachment trial of dismissed chief justice Renato Corona had just started.
In his blog post titled, “The Seventh Charge: The Story of the Great Escape,” Quezon discussed how Corona allegedly helped former President Gloria Arroyo in her “attempt” to “escape” the criminal charges filed against her. Quezon wrote about the time when the Corona-led Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the government’s travel ban versus the former president.
In the post, Quezon described Topacio as “Hitler-loving.”
“But here, Midas enters the scene. He told the media that the TRO was ‘in full force and effect.’ By 6 pm, the Arroyos had, on the surface, complied with the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court: they’d posted a 2 million peso bond, and given their lawyer, Hitler-loving Ferdinand Topacio, a special power of attorney,” Quezon blogged on February 22, 2012.
Topacio said someone called his attention about the blog.
“He was arguing against some of my arguments in a personal way. He was resorting to ad hominem, name-calling. If he calls people names he should also be ready to be called names. If he can dish it out. He should be able to take it as well,” Topacio told Rappler in a phone interview.
Quezon, however, stood by his words, saying that “It may not please him. My blog is where I write my views and opinions.”
The press undersecretary asserted that his opinion was based on facts. He cited the January 13 report of the New York Times that showed a photo of the portrait of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler hanging in Topacio’s office. He also pointed out Topacio’s denial of the Holocaust in previous interviews with Business Mirror’s Gerard Ramos and ABS-CBN’s Chiara Zambrano.
In an earlier interview with Rappler, Topacio said that Hitler was “one of the most misunderstood historical figures.” Hitler perpetrated the holocaust, the mass murder of nearly 6 million Jews mainly in gas chambers during World War II in Germany.
“His main fault, his main crime, was that he lost the war. And as you know, history is written by the victors,” Topacio said.
Topacio said he was not referring to Quezon’s sexual orientation when he called him a “faggot.” He said when he used the term, he only meant Quezon is “wishy-washy” or “a man with no principles.”
“I was not referring to his sexual orientation but to his personality. No one will believe I’m homophobic. I have so many gay friends. I even speak ‘bekinese’ (gay lingo). I regularly go out with them to parties or even out of town,” Topacio said.
Topacio added he is a supporter of Ang Ladlad, a party list group of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgendered (LGBT).
In a direct message on Twitter, Quezon said: “Well, what can I say? Except QED (quod erat demonstrandum) or it has been proven.”
Gay rights activist Jonas Bagas scoffed at Topacio’s tweet, calling it “hate speech.”
“If Topacio has anything against a public official like Manolo Quezon, then he should just stick to the issue. He shouldn’t use his alleged support for the LGBT community to pinkwash his homophobia. His gay slur is not just a personal attack against Manolo Quezon. He’s inciting hatred against our community,” Bagas said. – Rappler.com
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