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‘Ang babaw nila’: ‘Bato’ hits back at critics of Pampanga kiss joke

Senatorial candidate Ronald Dela Rosa gives a speech during the Hugpong ng Pagbabago campaign launch in Pampanga, February 12, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan- Former police and corrections bureau chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday hit back after his critics lashed out at his “sexist” remarks in a campaign sortie earlier this week.

During the administration slate’s proclamation rally Tuesday, Dela Rosa, a senatorial candidate, told voters that the “fastest way to learn Kapampangan was to kiss Pampanga women on the lips” to directly transfer the language.

Opposition figures and members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate hit Dela Rosa for his remarks, but the former police chief, a trusted ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, said he won’t change his attitude just to please the critics.

“Ang babaw nila. Nagpapatawa lang tayo eh. Sabihan ko sila huwag kayong makinig kung ayaw niyo. Nagpapatawa lang naman ako,” Dela Rosa told ABS-CBN News on the sidelines of the proclamation rally of PDP-Laban in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

(They’re so shallow. I was just kidding. I’ll tell them not to listen if they don’t want to. I was just trying to be funny.)

“Mayroon ba akong hinalikan na Kapampangan? Wala naman. Binasted nga ako eh.”

(Did I kiss a Kapampangan? No. I was even rejected.)

Dela Rosa added that he was an “informal person” and was just being his true self when he uttered his controversial remarks.

“Kailangan ko pa bang i-reinvent ko ang sarili ko? Kailangan ko pa bang magpaplastik?” he said.

(Do I have to reinvent myself? Do I have to be fake?)

“You see what you get, you get what you see. I [was] not trying to joke. That’s me talaga. Normal na sa akin iyon. Pasensya na kung di niyo ako gusto. Ako lang naman eh nagpakatotoo lang ako. Gusto niyo mag pormal-pormal ako para kunyari pormal ako.? Eh di naman ako pormal na tao.”

(That’s really me. That’s normal. Sorry if you don’t like me. I am just being real. You want me to be formal and pretend I am formal? I am not a formal person.)

Dela Rosa’s remark was “like the many jokes cracked under the Duterte administration,” human rights lawyer Chel Diokno told reporters.

“Hindi nakakatawa at hindi nakakatuwa. Iresponsable ito,” he said.

(It’s not funny and it’s not amusing. This is irresponsible.)

“Dumadagdag lang si Gen. Dela Rosa sa problema at tumutulong lang siyang gawing normal ang pambabastos sa kababaihan,” he said.

(Gen. Dela Rosa just added to the problem and is helping normalize disrespecting women.)

Otso Diretso bet Samira Gutoc, who is advocating for peace and women empowerment, called on other senatorial candidates to elevate the level of discourse during the campaign period.

“Is that the way we treat our campaign speeches? Ang campaign speech mo (your campaign speech), sorry, I have to say it [but] you should uplift. Up the ante. Hindi ‘yung (Not) at the expense of women,” Gutoc told ABS-CBN News.

“You’re just mimicking the President’s style ulit (again) na sometimes you just belittle women,” she said, in reference to the president’s jokes that have drawn controversy. 

Gutoc served as a Moro assemblywoman under the Duterte administration for 3 months but resigned from her post after the chief executive poked fun at rape victims.

President Duterte, Dela Rosa’s primary endorser and ally, once said his hometown Davao City had a high crime rate because Davaoeñas were beautiful. 

When he was a local chief executive, he also said in jest that the “Mayor” should be the first to inappropriately touch an Australian missionary who was allegedly raped by kidnappers.