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HK OFWs call for sacking of lawmaker in airport rampage

02 October 2018

The poster calling for Bertiz's ouster

By Daisy CL Mandap

Bertiz Alis!

This was the call sent out by United Filipinos (Unifil-Migrante) Hong Kong in the wake of a series of controversies involving party-list Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III, the latest of which involved him being caught on camera berating staff at the Manila international airport.

While airport officials and his fellow lawmakers are still looking into Bertiz’s latest gaffe, Unifil-Migrante has already begun exploring ways to get him expelled from Congress.

The group’s secretary-general Eman Villanueva said several options are being considered, including calling on OFW organizations to sign a joint petition for Bertiz’s ouster, and filing a formal complaint against him with the ethics committee of the House of Representatives.

In the meantime, the group has posted a BertizAlis poster online, and has asked people to show support by sharing it on Facebook.

Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong have long distanced themselves from Bertiz, even if his ACTS-OFW party-list purports to represent them in Congress.

The alienation grew when Bertiz engaged Villanueva in a shouting match in January last year, after the latter revealed that the lawmaker owns two employment agencies in Manila.
Another poster shows the heated dispute
between Bertiz and Villanueva

A video footage of the altercation has since resurfaced on social media, prompting Bertiz to claim he has already reconciled with Unifil-Migrante. He also spun a different version of the incident.

Villanueva has disputed both claims in his own social media account and on TV.

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Villanueva said his group had not spoken with Bertiz since the incident. He also said Bertiz was lying when he claimed that he had invited Unifil-Migrante leaders to take part in the dialogue because they were staging a rally in the rain at the time.

What really happened, said Villanueva, was Bertiz had gatecrashed a meeting his group had set up with Labor Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod who was visiting Hong Kong at the time.

Bertiz, who had merely tagged along, tried to dominate the conversation, and got mad when Villanueva accused him of not being a true OFW representative since he owned an employment agency.

The rift worsened when Bertiz, in turn, wrongly accused Villanueva of being an undocumented OFW.

Bertiz’ latest trouble arose from a video footage that went viral on Oct. 1, which showed him passing through the x-ray machine at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport without taking off his shoes, in violation of security regulations.
Bertiz shoving his access card to the airport staff
When he was stopped just outside the machine for this breach, Bertiz shoved his access pass to the face of the airport personnel who accosted him, before snatching the man's staff ID away.

To make matters worse, Bertiz, in an attempt at an apology, said that he was having his annual “monthly period,” which provoked another outcry, especially from women who were angered by his use of their condition to explain his boorish behavior.

It was the second time he had angered netizens in as many weeks.

The previous week, he drew flak for joking that a new batch of engineers would not get their licenses because they did not know Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.

Again, this gaffe was recorded on camera.

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