Only in the Philippines (Congress that is)

sLanao congresswoman goes ballistic over pork

(Star) Dreading the wrath of Allah and feeling “grossly insulted,’’ a Muslim congresswoman slapped and shoved a waitress who served her pancit (noodles) with pork during a dinner at the House of Representatives last Monday.

sLanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa said she blew her top upon learning that she had unintentionally eaten pork, which was an ingredient of the dish served by Virginia Altamerano, head waitress of Shangri-la Finest Cuisine in West Triangle. Shangri-La Finest Cuisine was the House caterer for that day.

Altamerano later reported the incident to the Batasan Hills police. She, however, declined to be interviewed after the incident.

“As a Muslim, it is forbidden in Islam for a believer to eat pork or its derivatives. To do so is a grievous sin. An intentional consumption of such meat would hinder me from gaining entrance to paradise. Beyond dietary concerns, this is a matter of faith,” she said.

“What I did was a natural reaction on a situation where I felt betrayed. I was grossly insulted,” she said, explaining her outburst.

The 54-year old Mindanao lawmaker said she had to eat first because she had to take medicine for hypertension.

“Siguro mataas pa ang presyon ko kaya nagdilim agad ang paningin ko (Maybe my blood pressure was high that’s why I easily lost my temper). I feel I was betrayed, that I was deceived,” she said.

Dumarpa said that before the incdent, the food servers assured her of pork-free dish for her and other Muslim lawmakers. She said it was a Muslim colleague who called her attention to the mistake. By that time, she was already enjoying the dessert.

“I had been very careful in my 54 years not to eat pork, only to find out that I did. It has been my habit to ask (if there is pork) first. I can give up all my wealth, all I have in this world, but I cannot give up my faith,” she told reporters at a briefing.

Dumarpa admitted pushing Altemarano, but denied attempting to stab her with a table knife. “I was pushing her, I was scolding her. But I cannot remember taking any knife because I was holding a glass of water. But yes, I threw the glass on the floor out of anger.”

Dumarpa wrote a letter to Ramon Sy, head of the House caterer, demanding the dismissal of the concerned catering crew.

“It is a policy of the House that only Halal (prepared according to Muslim law) foods shall be served to Muslim congressmen, and this has been relayed to you as a concessionaire,” she told Sy in a letter.

Lanao del Sur Rep. Benasing Macarambon, who is also a Muslim, said Dumarpa’s outburst was justified and that Islam allows a more severe response to such travesty.

“If it were me, I don’t know what will be my state of my mind. Muslims can kill,” he warned.

Macarambon said that for a Muslim, the anguish one feels after being made to eat pork is actually worse than seeing one’s wife being raped in front of him.

Another Muslim lawmaker, Mujiv Hataman of party-list Anak Mindanao, has a less combative stand on the issue. He proposed that a separate lounge for the 12 Muslim lawmakers be set up to avoid such incidents from happening again.

“The House should take responsibility for this unfortunate incident on Dumarpa. This indicates the lack of religious and cultural sensitivity even within the House itself,” he reiterated.

“Hence, to prevent similar incidents from happening again, the House should consider putting up a separate lounge for Muslim legislators and visitors,” Hataman stressed.

“The House should observe measures that are respectful of faith-based differences in customs and beliefs, such as ensuring Halal food preparations or putting up separate lounge,” he said in a text message.

Altamerano, 36, reported the incident to the Batasan Hills police station. Supt. Tante Agpaoa, station chief, said Altamerano reported the incident for record purposes. He said the incident happened at around 6:30 pm.

House food caterer terminates contract

By Maricel V. Cruz

The concessionaire at a restaurant in the Batasan Complex on Wednesday said it was terminating its contract after one of its employees was reportedly slapped and verbally abused by a Muslim lawmaker.

The Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine has a P5.9-million deal to service the South Lounge at the House of Representatives, where the incident occurred Monday night.

A waitress working for the concessionaire, Virginia Fer­nando Altamirano, has filed a complaint against Rep. Faysah Dumarpa of Lanao del Sur, accusing Dumarpa of cursing and slapping her after she served her pancit that had pork bits in it. Devout Muslims are forbidden to eat pork.

In a letter to House Secretary-General Roberto P. Nazareno dated November 21, the management of the Developers’ Group of Companies, which operates the Shangri-La, said it was “suspending any and all services as concessionaire of the House of the Representatives South Lounge.”

Ramon A. Sy, the firm’s president, said in a statement faxed to reporters that the contract was the “least of his worries” and that his primary and only concern was the personal safety and well-being of his employees.

“I will never put any of my employees in harm’s way in the pursuit of my business interests,” Sy said.

The letter, signed by Maria Theresa D. Moreno, assistant to the president, said the decision came in light of “threats to the safety of the personnel” of the restaurant, which has been catering for the South Lounge for more than two weeks.

“As you are probably aware, the staff and personnel of Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine were attacked with impunity by one Congresswoman Faysah RPM Dumarpa because of a particular incident, which we are investigating. Regardless of the provocation, or alleged provocation, however, it is our position that no such physical violence against our personnel can be justified,” Moreno said.

Dumarpa said she “felt betrayed” and “grossly insulted” by being served food containing pork. “It is forbidden in Islam for a believer to eat pork or its derivatives. To do so is a grievous sin. An intentional consumption of such meat would hinder me from gaining entrance to paradise. Beyond dietary concerns, this is a matter of faith,” she said.

In her complaint to the Quezon City police on Monday, the 36-year-old Altamirano said Dumarpa confronted her and said: “Why did you serve me pork?” “I realized she was a Muslim and immediately apologized,” she said.

But Dumarpa continued to make a scene, shouting invectives at her, Altamirano said. “Then she hit my left arm. She returned to her table to get a water goblet. But she went back to me and slapped me on the left cheek.”

Altamirano said Dumarpa then went after her with a dinner knife but some people stepped in and subdued her.

In a radio interview Dumarpa said she only remembered that she pushed Altamirano. She had no recollection of cursing and slapping the waitress.

House caterer in spat w/ Muslim solon halts service

A food concessionaire at an exclusive lounge for lawmakers has suspended its service at the House of Representatives “to protect” its staff “from further harm” following Monday’s spat when a Muslim woman solon slapped one of its employees for serving her food with pork.

Shangri-La’s Finest Cuisine, in a letter to House secretary general Roberto Nazareno, said it would stop serving food at the South Lounge effective November 21 because its personnel were “assaulted and attacked with impunity” by Lanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa, one of 12 Muslim lawmakers in the 232-seat House.

“Regardless of the provocation, or alleged provocation…it is our position that no such physical violation against our personnel can be justified,” the food concessionaire said in the letter, adding that the company was investigating the incident.

“Considering, moreover, that the threat to the physical well-being of our personnel continue to remain, and are, in fact, imminent, we thought it prudent to immediately suspend all services to the House, if only to protect our said personnel from further harm,” the letter added.

The letter was signed by Ma. Teresa Moreno, assistant to the president of the Developers Group of Companies Inc., which owns Shangri-La.

“I will never put any of my employees in harm’s way in the pursuit of my business interest,” DGCI president Ramon Syhunliong also said in a statement.

In a sworn statement to police, Shangri-La dining manager Virginia Altamirano, 36, alleged that Dumarpa slapped her and threatened her with a dining knife despite her repeated apologies.

Dumarpa said she had repeatedly asked if the pancit she was served was free of pork ingredients and only learned otherwise after she had consumed her food.

Edith Cardenas, director for protocol of the House Inter-parliamentary relation service (IPRS), said that they respected the caterer’s decision.

“We will wait until the investigation is over. After all, they said they were just suspending the concession, it doesn’t say that they terminated it. In the meantime, we’ll look for others who can serve food to our congressmen,” Cardenas told GMANews.TV.

By suspending its service, Shangri-La did not yield to Dumarpa’s demand that the company fire its employees involved in the incident.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Dumarpa denied having wanted to stab Altamirano, admitting only that she had shoved the Shangri-La employee during the altercation.

“As a Muslim, it is forbidden in Islam for a believer to eat pork or its derivatives. To do so is a grievous sin. An intentional consumption of such meat would hinder me from gaining entrance to paradise. Beyond dietary concerns, this is a matter of faith,” Dumarpa said during the briefing.

“I had been very careful in my 54 years not to eat pork, only to find out that I did. It has been my habit to ask (if there is pork) first. I can give up all my wealth, all I have in this world, but I cannot give up my faith,” Dumarpa said. -Fidel Jimenez


Eating Pork by Mistake Does Not Justify Violence

Rasheed Abou-Alsamh, Arab News

JEDDAH, 24 November 2006 — The ridiculous incident that was reported by Phiippine media on Tuesday that Lanao del Sur Representative Faysah Dumarpa had allegedly pointed a knife at Virginia Altamirano, a waitress of the Shangri-la Chine Cuisine, after she was served pork during a dinner with other lawmakers at the House on Monday, made me laugh; it was so silly!

The waitress went to a local police station to file a complaint against Dumarpa for allegedly hitting her in the face, throwing a glass of water at her and waving a knife menacingly at her.

The Muslim congresswoman denies hitting the poor waitress, but admits that she threw the glass of water onto the floor and that she indeed had a knife in her hand at the time of her outburst.

In a nasty letter to the owner of the restaurant, Dumarpa demanded that the staff involved in serving the lunch all be sacked for serving her pork, either knowingly or through incompetence, even though she claims to have asked several of the staff whether any of the dishes contained pork.

“What I did after that was my natural reaction on a situation where I felt betrayed,” she said in her letter to the restaurant owner, Ramon Sy. “I was grossly insulted, and I assumed your crew members purposely caused that by intentional concealment of the fact herein set forth. If not at all intentional, then there must have been gross negligence on their part,” Dumarpa said.

The lawmaker explained that for Muslims, eating pork and its derivatives was forbidden in Islam and considered a “grievous sin” in the religion. She said an intentional consumption of meat would hinder her from gaining entrance to paradise.

“Intentional” is the key word here. I can surely say that her eating pork in this instance was NOT intentional, so I don’t see how her entrance to Heaven would be jeopardized by eating pork by mistake. I would instead suggest to her that slapping a defenseless waitress in the face, shouting like a crazed person and throwing a glass of water on the floor in a scandalous fashion, is what surely would keep her out of Paradise!

Fellow Lanao del Sur Rep. Benasing Macarambon also attended this luncheon, and was reported as saying that eating pork accidentally was allegedly more upsetting to him and other Muslims than catching their spouses with another person! What nonsense! How is accidentally eating pork now WORSE than catching your spouse committing adultery? The logic escapes me here.

In a country where the majority of the population loves anything porky, and where the national dish is lechon de leche, I am not surprised that Muslim politicians often find pork lurking in the food that is served to them. As my father always told me, eating pork unknowingly was okay, as long as one stopped eating the dish as soon as we found out it contained pork.

Instead of slapping hapless waiters and throwing tantrums in public, Muslim politicians would do better to have someone inspect the kitchen while their food is being prepared, or better yet, bring their own halal, pork-free food with them to avoid any such mix-ups in the future.

On Wednesday, the restaurant accused of serving pork to Dumarpa announced that it was suspending its services from the House of Representatives in order to protect its staff from the threats of physical violence coming from Dumarpa and her supporters.

Dumarpa, who is 54 and serving her second term in Congress, ironically told the website IslamOnLine.net in a July 13, 2006, article on her proposal to set up a state-run Islamic university in the Philippines, that “remember, real Islam shuns violence.”

If only she had followed her own advice and not slapped Altamirano, shouted and thrown the glass of water on the floor, Muslims all around the world would not have to cringe at such uncivilized behavior. Dumarpa owes the waitress an apology and an immediate cessation of threats of violence, end of story.

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19 Responses to Only in the Philippines (Congress that is)

  • Jojo says:

    (Scratches head) Weird religion. Did I read that right? Muslims would rather see a spouse raped in front of them than eat pork? Weird.

  • Anonymous says:

    And she is supposed to be a PUBLIC SERVANT. Ano ba yan?!!

  • Anonymous says:

    It was obviously unintentional. Poor waitress/service personnel. Kudos to the owner the catering service to make a stand and not let this pass.

    Shame on you Lanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa for demanding that the person be fired. Like she had not had enough suffering from your tirades.

    These people should be thrown out of congress. But then again if we throw all of her kind from Congress, who would be left? The security guards?

    Very troubling.

  • Tonton says:

    Nakakahiya ka Lanao del Sur Rep. Faysah Dumarpa!!!!

  • Shane says:

    Dumarpa, you give Muslims a bad name. As a Muslim, I find your actions inexcusable. And from a Congressman at that!

    I feel sorry for the people of Lanao de Sur for having a ‘representative’ like you.

  • OPP says:

    I can empathize with the Congresswoman. It seems outrageous to us but how would you feel if you we’re unknowingly fed dog meat. It may even be worse than that. Try feeding a devout Hindu beef or a devout Jew pork, or a true Christian Filipino dinuguan.

    I feel that this article is biased. It negatively portrays Muslims.

  • Shane says:

    OPP, if I unintentionally eat something totally horrible to me as a person or against my religion, I will certainly feel bad. But I think (and this may just be me) I’d have the self-control to not beat up another human being especially an innocent one.

    One more thing OPP, the article does not portray the Muslims negatively. We have Congresswoman Dumarpa to thank for that.

  • Jun says:

    I assume the congresswoman’s faithful adherence to her religion’s ways of not eating pork is some form of cleansing that leads to living a pure and holy muslim life.

    What I don’t get it her disregard of her fellow human being’s welfare. So we’ll do everything now to protect our respective religion? Even hurting out fellow Filipinos?

    To quote a Beatle member:

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too

    Imagine all the people
    Living life in peace…

  • OPP says:

    No disrespect intended

    Shane~

    I can’t speculate what religion you adhere to but I doubt your from the Abrahamic religions or is a devout one.

    Personally, I’m agnostic, so I can go either way. Her belonging to the Muslim Faith was mentioned more than needed. Subconciously, the whole notion that all muslims are violent is reaffirmed by this artcle. How often do you hear about Muslims good deeds? When you read about eveything else, do you hear about them being Christian? Why isn’t the atrocities commited by Christians towards Muslims swept under the ground? How much do the average person know about the latter?

    Jun~

    What she did is not commendable but is understandable. We are taught in school that God comes first, then country. It is messed up but most filipinos I’ve talked to have said that when it comes down to it, most filipinos have the crab mentality. Corruption runs rampant, the masses remain ignorant and will follow anything that the church instructs.

    Now I’m just randomly ranting, I should save it for another. Why don’t we all check BansangMoro and read about the things from the muslim perspective.

  • Shane says:

    OPP, the article mentions her religion because the issue IS her not being able to eat pork because she is Muslim. If a Christian beat up somebody because the other person insults Jesus Christ then I’m pretty sure the article would also circle around the fact that the person who did the beating up is a Christian. And if you read the article close enough, it was the Congressman who kicked and yelled her ‘insulted’ regligion.

    Atrocities commited by Christians isn’t being swept under the ground, that’s not the point of the news port. What’s being reported is the ONE atrocity committed by this ONE congresswoman who because of her religion went on a rampage.

    No disrespect intended either.

  • Jun says:

    I will make the effort to understand this OPP. I just can’t for the life of me understand this whole fanatic and extremist devotional behaviour people have about their fairth, Muslims or otherwise.

  • Chief says:

    Peeps,
    are we just talking about muslim religion here? or are we talking religion as a whole? it will be an endless discussion peeps..

    i have read an article about islam i’m honestly not sure wheter it is true or not .but if this is true then it’s quite disturbing,.it is about a boy who stole a piece of bread from a bakery..and got caught..the Punishment? the poor kid’s arm was put under the car’s tire and ran it over..this kid is 4yrs old he stole bread because of hunger..

    now he will not be able to maximize the full potential use of his arm for the rest of his life because of Islam belief..

    Please enlighten me about this Islam practices ,because for a person like me who are totally lost or not aware of justification for whatever reasons the muslim holy book says,i will be glad to listen and compare notes

  • Neth says:

    I understand the feeling of the Congresswoman. Who will not feel angry when your belief is violated. Of course, I will. It is indeed a natural human reaction to be angry in that situtation, but it is not the mature way of suspending your anger in such manner. I believe even if your blood pressure is high on that time, as a Goverment figure, it is not the proper way of showing the whole Philippines how our Gov’t Officers should act.That is what entails being in your position. Though I am not sure but I believe that there will be ways in your good religion where you can repent for such unintentional action. God is good and merciful. With your pure unintentional act of eating a forbidden food, I am sure HE will have grace for your repentance.

    Madam, it only frightens me on how do you dispense your stress onto your job.

    For Shangrila, saludo po ako, for taking such care into your employees. I am a hotelier and with this, I am having a thought of tranferring into one of the Shangrila chains!!! Mabuhay po kayo!

  • hayw00d jabl0mi says:

    So Islam is a religion of peace?

  • Mel says:

    In The News….
    “Rep. Dumarpa lamented that many Filipinos, and even in some part of Mindanao, the home of most Filipino Muslims, see the Muslim populace “as barbaric, uncivilized, terror-loving and violent people”.”

    MANILA — A Muslim legislator is championing a proposal for the creation of a state-run Islamic university in the largely Catholic Philippines.
    “It will bring about peace because it will bring about the consciousness of Islamic values. Remember, real Islam shuns violence. This is what we need to nurture and foster today,” Rep. Faysah Dumarpa, a member of the lower house of Congress, told IslamOnline.net.”

    What I see in her now is a “barbaric, uncivilized, terror-loving and violent person”. She cannot NOT bring peace to our country because she just made us conscious how she represents Islamic culture. Islam shuns violence, and Islam shuns her.

  • NojNoj says:

    That Congresswoman just showed her true colors. Forget all about the religion and the faith. Just think about how unjustifiable a violent reaction is to an obviously unintentional act of serving a food with ingredients that this Government representative “despise”. This so called “devout Muslim believer” is just dragging the Islamic beliefs down with her actions. Really, religion should not be a focus of discussion here. It’s the gross misconduct and unbecoming of a public servant that should be put into the spotlight. Shame on you Faysah Dumarpa. That disgraceful, appalling reaction just showed your true colors.

  • kaka ali says:

    Comments to your cartoons:

    “Pork is forbidden in Islam”
    “Violence Isn’t?”

    what is the connotation of that? you against to the reaction od Rep. Dumarpa as reported by media, but “you” act as more the acts of Dumarpa.

    You are really provoking, why Writing: “Violence Isn’t?

    As media We must comments positively, not by proviking another “hitches”.

    Peace!

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  • Hey, I love the way that kaka plays…..

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