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Mariz Umali on Duterte’s catcalling: Improper, no apology expected

GMA News anchor and reporter Mariz Umali said it seemed improper for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to catcall her during Wednesday's press conference in Davao City but said she does not expect an apology.

Umali was asked about the incident in an interview on "News To Go" on Thursday.

"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," she said.

While she did not receive any statement or apology from the camp of Duterte, she says she tried to understand the outgoing Davao City mayor's personality.

"From their end, walang lumapit o nakipag-usap man lang. I'm not expecting any apology pero wala man lang nakipag-usap from their end," she said.

"Iniintindi natin yan because sa mga coverage natin sa kanya talagang sinasabi niya na ganoon 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 added.

Umali's husband, GMA News anchor and reporter Raffy Tima said he expected that attitude from Duterte but criticized him for doing so in front of national television. 

"I know his reputation well enough not to be shocked by it, but that does not make it right. For someone who espouses leadership by example, catcalling anyone in a press conference with all cameras trained on him defies logic," Tima said on his Facebook page.

Umali recounted that Duterte's press conference became a free-for-all where journalists had to either raise their voice or their hands to get Duterte's attention.

"Kumbaga para makuha mo yung atensyon ni President-elect Duterte ay kailangan medyo itaas mo talaga yung boses mo o itaas mo yung kamay mo. That was what I did kasi lahat naman nagtataas ng kamay para may maitanong," Umali said.

Coming off a live telecast for "24 Oras," Umali arrived late for the press conference, prompting her to sit in the back row.

"I just told him (Duterte) na 'sir I'm here' in the middle of my question para hindi ko na siya hayaan pang maghanap kung nasaan yung boses na nanggagaling. Doon na niya sinagot na parang nagpapansin daw ako tapos sumipol na and then later on kumanta," Umali said.

Umali said she did her best to keep her composure as she waited for Duterte's reply to her query even though the other people in the press conference started teasing her and Duterte.

"I stood my ground and then talagang nilakasan ko yung boses ko na 'sir can I get my answer' because kahit na anoman yung naging situation, inisip ko na lang na I must understand na baka palabiro lang itong si President-elect Duterte based from how I know him o kung ano yung alam ko doon sa mga coverages sa kanya ng ibang reporters," Umali said.

"Minaintain ko na lang yung composure ko, I tried to understand what the situation was, and tried to get my answer, which I did," she added.

Meanwhile, GMA News and Public Affairs released the following statement on the matter: "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." — Joseph Tristan Roxas/VVP/TJD/JST, GMA News