Senator JV Ejercito took a jibe at a Twitter user by asking him if he is “special” and adding a “haha” at the end of his tweet and netizens took it to mean that he was referring to people with “special needs.”
The exchange of tweets that led to the controversial tweet started when Twitter user @Harperblammo reacted to the news that nine Philippine senators are going to Europe reportedly to attempt to mend ties with the Europeans after President Rodrigo Duterte slammed them for interfering with Philippine affairs.
@Harperblammo (Harper) tweeted, “Sayang ang milyon milyon na pera ng bayan, 9 senator para makipag ayos sa EU? Just tell duterte to call EU leaders & apologize, Sen. Junket!”
Someone noticed that Ejercto deleted his tweet, to which Harper replied that the senator deleted several other tweets, too.
We also found the continuation of Harper’s June 19 to 20 tweet exchange between him and Ejercito.
When Harper criticized the senator for deleting his Twitter conversation with the Twitter user, he responded that it was not worth any space because it was “illogical.”” When Harper added that he could not read the messages fast enough, Ejercito responded with the controversial post.
“Bagal mo pala magbasa. Malamang nasa row 5 ka dati sa classroom. Oops! Row 4 lang dapat diba? Special ka siguro. Haha!” Ejercito tweeted in reply to Harper.
This caused people to react, including the Autism Society Phils.
“Hello po, Senator. Sana po wag natin gamiting insulto ang pagkakaroon ng special needs. Salamat po. Peace be with you,” the organization tweeted.
Hello po, Senator. Sana po wag natin gamiting insulto ang pagkakaroon ng special needs. Salamat po. Peace be with you. https://t.co/IsU6ORa8id
— Autism Society Phils (@autismphils) June 21, 2017
Other netizens also reacted.
@t0m_md took Ejercito’s tweet to mean that the senator was ‘insulting’ people with ‘special needs.’
When a senator of the land insults people by telling them they have special needs. Nice. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 pic.twitter.com/mQIdMmWccg
— pOd0cyte (@t0m_md) June 20, 2017
@bibmacasaet also hit the senator and brought up the plunder cases against his family members, former Pres. Erap Estrada and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
— Bib Macasaet (@bibmacasaet) June 20, 2017
@DarwinAwardsPH piped in with the mug shots of the two Estradas.
Kelan ba pictorial nya? 😂 pic.twitter.com/MlZww5muE2
— 🏆 (@DarwinAwardsPH) June 20, 2017
@betseyklark slammed Ejercito for insulting special kids whom she considered as “angels.”
IMO, Special children are angels 😇 in disguise. To insult them, IN ANY MANNER, is like insulting these angels.
— Marybeth (@betseyklark) June 21, 2017
Here are more reactions from other Twitter users:
I don't know about you, but using a learning disability as an insult is just wrong. Especially for an elected public servant. https://t.co/NQ43SaL8lc
— Marco Harder (@themarcoharder) June 20, 2017
Unbecoming for a senator, you're suppose to protect the weak. ganyan ba kababa ang tingin mo Sen @jvejercito sa PWD? Discrimination yan
— JennRose™ (@JenRosMasato) June 20, 2017
Tama po bang gawing insulto ang learning disability? You're a public servant, right? Act like one.
— Darth Jianne Snow (@LordJianneSnow) June 20, 2017
One @mrsunlawyer tweeted Ejercito to express how offended she was.
“@jvejercito As a mother of special children, I find this very offensive,” she said.
She added, “And while am at this, can people please NOT include public figures’ children when bashing? Esp when they’re minor and not engaging publicly?”
As seen in the Twitter thread, Ejercito responded with an admission of his mistake, adding that he did not intend to insult special kids.
“I admit it was a mistake as I acted out of anger but there was no intent to insult special children at all,” he said.
@mrsunlawyer acknowledged Ejercito’s apology and accepted it, while emphasizing on the need to dragging kids, anyone’s kids, to the issue.
Another mother, @JoyJoyclar, also expressed how “bothered” she was by Ejercito’s comment.
“My dear sen, i’m mother to a spcl child. extremely bothered po by ur comment, esp ur laugh/guffaw.kakalungkot.Breaks my heart into tiny pcs,” she tweeted.
To this, Ejecito replied that his tweet was taken out of context.
“Madame that was not I meant about “special”, was referring to a special row. Taken out of context,” he said.
But hours before Ejercito replied that he meant to say “special row,” @KSIntal tweeted this: “Uhm… di po lahat naka-private school? Umabot kami ng 8 rows dati sa sobrang daming students.” She does have a point.
Even with his defense, other Twitter users did not believe him.
But what @mrsunlawyer said is actually true. Kids should never be dragged to whatever issues adults have to deal with.