Two female party-list lawmakers on Tuesday slammed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for flaunting his womanizing ways and for his actions that they feel belittle women’s stature.
Gabriela party-list Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus described Duterte’s recent statements on women as “distasteful and unacceptable.”
"Womanizing and treating women as objects are an affront to women and it should not be flaunted. This reeks of machismo, reinforces the society’s low regard of women and consequently increases women’s vulnerability to violence and abuse," they said in a statement.
In a speech after he was officially endorsed by the PDP-Laban as its standard bearer on Monday, the tough-talking local executive said he would choose women over love, money and even the presidency.
"If you can love your fellow men, if you love the Filipino people — love enough to serve you and to die for you — how can I not love four women in my life?" he said.
Prior to this, Duterte disclosed in a separate event that he has two wives and two girlfriends.
Ilagan and De Jesus urged Duterte and other presidential contenders to discuss women's and people's issues in their public appearances.
"Those setting their sights on ruling the country must impose upon themselves, the highest standards towards uplifting society's views on women and helping ensure the protection of women from abuse,” they said.
Challenge to critics
In a separate statement, former Akbayan party-list and independent senatorial candidate Rep. Walden Bello said Duterte’s entry into the presidential race poses a challenge to his critics to spread awareness about the importance of human rights.
"Duterte’s running should be seen as a challenge by human rights advocates to educate the electorate on the value of human rights and due process, which some have complacently assumed there is a national consensus on," he said.
The former lawmaker said the mayor’s candidacy also serves as a challenge for everyone to prove Duterte wrong by showing that "the rule of law is not an empty rhetoric."
"It will also challenge us to prove… that our laws can, in fact, be used to prosecute and punish criminals and the corrupt; and that the pursuit of law and justice is blind, meaning it is not perverted by double standards," Bello said.
Duterte has been scored by critics for his human rights record in Davao City. During Monday's speech, he even boasted about killing criminals in his hometown. —JST, GMA News