Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said there is nothing wrong with the Arab costume he wore during Saturday's Halloween episode of Eat Bulaga.
"We have nothing to apologize for," Sotto said on Monday in a report by GMA News' Jam Sisante. "Many Arab friends are telling us that they liked it as in the past."
The outfit drew some controversy after Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman released a statement asking for a public apology after Sotto and co-host Joey De Leon wore the thobe garments on the show, saying it was offensive to Muslims.
But Sotto maintained that the costume had nothing to do with religion, saying it was an Arab costume and not a Muslin outfit. He noted that there were Arab Christians as well.
In a comment on his Instagram account, Sotto said that a friend from Saudi Arabia gave him the costume and did not object to his wearing it.
"Sheikh SHAWAF of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia gave me that costume. He likes it everytime I get a chance to wear it. I wear it to honor him. @aldbunation," Sotto wrote in his comment.
Sotto said there was nothing wrong with the costume as long as it was worn with respect.
"Others wear priests, nuns and even the Pope's outfit and as long as you are not disrespecting what you wear, there is nothing wrong," he said.
"I suggest the people complaining should find out more about the origin of Halloween so they will not have misplaced sensitivities." —JST, GMA News