TV reporter Mariz Umali of GMA News has said that she is not expecting any apology from the camp of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte following the controversial catcall during a press conference in Davao City recently.
“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,” said Umali, during an interview on “News To Go” on GMA News Live.
Umali said that she tried to understand the personality of Duterte. But she also said that she did not get any apology from the President’s camp.
“Iniintindi natin ‘yan because sa mga coverage natin sa kanya talagang sinasabi niya na ganun talaga siya and mayroon pa nga siyang sinabi na pabiro noong previous press conference na baka hindi daw perfect si God because He created him that way. Mayroon pa siyang sinabi na kapag daw nagbago siya ay hindi na siya si Rodrigo Duterte,” Umali said.
GMA News and Public Affairs has issued a statement that lauded Umali’s professionalism during coverage.
“As journalists, we are ready to deal with situations that come with the territory. Regardless of the challenges, our commitment is to do our job professionally, as Mariz Umali has shown,” according to statement issued by GMA News and Public Affairs.
ABS-CBN news anchor Karen Davila defended Umali on her DZMM radio show, saying that catcalling is never a compliment to women.
GMA 7 news anchor Raffy Tima has cried foul over Duterte’s treatment of his wife Umali during the Davao press conference. Tima and Umali got married in 2012.
On Facebook, Tima said: “Catcalling My Wife Is Wrong In 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.”
President Duterte has denied claims that he disrespected Umali when catcalled or wolf-whistled in public, saying it is part of freedom of speech.
“(whistles) You know, you don’t have any business stopping me every time I (whistles). That is a freedom of expression,” Duterte said.
“Parang you cajole with the woman. (whistles) ‘Miss, saan ka?’ As a matter of fact, when I first saw you [reporter who asked the question], I said (whistles). Go to another question. You cannot stop anybody from whistling,” the incoming President said.
Earlier, incoming presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has said that Duterte did not mean to offend Umali when he wolf-whistled, ABS-CBN reported.
“Mayor Duterte is a very kind, playful individual. Pagsiya’y pumito, ibig sabihin he’s fond of you, ibig sabihin mahal ka niya, kaya ka binibiro. Hindi po isang pambabastos ’yun. On the contrary, the receiver of that should be complimented,” Panelo said.
“The fact alone na nagtawanan ’yung mga tao eh ibig sabihin nun that expression was meant to be a joke and also as a compliment,” Panelo added.