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Bertiz hospitalized due to ‘stress’ over viral NAIA video

Mara Cepeda
Bertiz hospitalized due to ‘stress’ over viral NAIA video

Rappler.com

The chief of staff of ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz says the latter underwent angioplasty surgery last year

ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz was admitted to the hospital after being subjected to two weeks of intense backlash from his series of controversial videos and statements. 

Bertiz’s chief of staff Francisco Aguilar Jr told Rappler on Wednesday, October 3, that the party-list lawmaker was hospitalized on Tuesday, October 2, to undergo a series of laboratory and stress tests.

He said Bertiz, who went through an angioplasty surgery last year, had been feeling symptoms like experiencing a sinking feeling whenever he lays on his bed and waking up at night because of intense sweating. 

Sabi ko, understandable naman na siguro kahit na sinong tao na with that kind of stress [ay mao-ospital]. And since Saturday until yesterday, talagang grabe ‘yong wala na siyang tamang kain, wala na siyang tamang tulog. And then yong bashing sa kanya, ‘yong threat sa kanya,” said Aguilar, who clarified Bertiz did not even want to go the hospital initially.

(I said it’s probably understandable for any person who has gone through that kind of stress to be hospitalized. Since Saturday until yesterday, he could not eat nor sleep properly. He’s been thinking about the the bashing and threats he’s been getting.)

Aguilar said Bertiz was greatly affected when his children started getting threats as well. 

 

Bertiz is on the hot seat in the past two weeks after committing one gaffe after another. Over the weekend, a video of him confronting an employee of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after the latter told him to remove his shoes at a security checkpoint went viral online. 

Bertiz then apologized for his behavior in a press conference on Monday, October 1, but he likened the way he acted to a woman going through her menstrual cycle. He drew more flak from lawmakers and social media users alike, who told him his statement was “demeaning to women.” He later said sorry to women for making this remark

The lawmaker was also criticized for cracking an “inappropriate” joke that the new batch of agricultural and biosystems engineers would not get their respective licenses from the Professional Regulation Commission if they would not say they knew Special Assistant to the President Bong Go. 

The lawmaker also said sorry over a 3rd video, which social media users have revived following the backlash over the two incidents involving Bertiz. In the 3rd video, Bertiz was in a heated exchange with a leader of a community of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong in January 2017. 

Bertiz accused OFW leader Eman Villanueva of the United Filipinos in Hong Kong Migrante HK of being an undocumented worker and for failing to fight for OFWs’ rights.

Minority lawmakers who are allied with Bertiz are already mulling filing an ethics complaint against him.  

But Bertiz himself filed House Resolution (HR) No. 2212 on Tuesday directing the House committee on ethics and privileges to probe into his viral video at NAIA. 

The panel conducted a closed door “special meeting” on HR 2212 on Wednesday so they can first discuss the NAIA incident internally. No schedule has been set yet for the public hearing on Bertiz’s behavior. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.