Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has come under fire after a recording of him making a rape joke during a campaign sortie went viral this weekend.
In a video uploaded on YouTube by user "Beatboxer Ng Pinas," Duterte told a story of an operation against a group of criminals who had raped a number of women. One of the victims, an Australian lay minister, caught the Davao City mayor's eye.
"P-- ina, sayang," he said, drawing the audience's laughter.
"Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila, pinagpilahan nila lahat doon," Duterte added.
"Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape? Oo. Isa rin 'yun. Pero napakaganda, dapat mayor muna ang nauna. Sayang."
The video seemed to have been originally a Facebook Live recording posted by CinEmotion Digital Films. The original post has been deleted.
Duterte seemingly referred to a hostage-taking incident in Davao in 1989, when 17 missionaries who were visiting were held for almost 48 hours.
Five missionaries were killed along with 16 prisoners during the incident.
Jaqueline Hamill, an Australian lay missionary, was among those killed in the incident.
Duterte: That's cliche, ganon talaga
In a news conference in Davao, Duterte explained he was overwhelmed by anger as he recalled the incident, prompting him to utter such statement.
He said however that he was not joking and doesn't consider what he said as disrespectful.
"Totoo 'yon. Sinabi ko 'yon. Gutter language. But it was expressed in utter anger," he told reporters.
"In my utter anger, gutter language 'yan eh, sabi ko — oh ito, ang ganda ganda pa, mukhang artista, putang ina naunahan pa ako, patayin mo lahat. Sa galit yon. I was not joking.
"Noong ikinukwento ko 'yan, sabi ko, '(Mar) Roxas, panay ang arte mo, magpa-hostage-ka na lang.' I was angry at that time. That’s my explanation. That’s it. If you don’t believe it, the videos can show for it.
"Gutter language 'yan. Ganon ang mga lalaki magsalita. 'Oh, putangina naunahan mo pa ako, letse ka…' Sorry kung hindi nagustuhan ng iba. Pero 'yan ang totoo. That is an incident but there is a story behind it. It was a bad remark. It wasn't a bad joke. Talagang galit ako kaya ko sinabi 'yon — 'Oh, putangina naunahan mo pa ako'. That’s a cliche. Ganon talaga."
A colleague of Hamill publicly denounced Duterte's candidacy in light of his statement.
"ON BEHALF OF MY SISTER IN CHRIST, MISSIONARY JACQUELINE HAMILL, I PUBLICALLY DENOUNCE THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY OF DUERTE, IN THE PHILIPPINES. Jacqueline was raped and had her throat slit while ministering in the jails in southern Philippines in a 1989 hostage taking. Duterte was recorded this week saying in his political rally that while he ordered the killing of the hostage takers while he was mayor, he wished he could have raped her first, since she was so beautiful," wrote missionary Robin Haines Merrill on Facebook.
Women's group Gabriela also denounced Duterte's pronouncements and asked him to apologize.
"Rape, or any form of sexual abuse is not a joke nor something to be trivialized in a joke, especially by a public official and most especially by those aspiring for the highest post in the land," the group said.
"Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape.
"We also challenge him to use his campaign to promote issues that will elevate the condition of women and their families."
Lack of fitness for the presidency
Malacañang said Duterte's statement "reveals [that] he has not matured nor evolved, and that his offer to serve as President truly deserves serious scrutiny."
"He makes fun of, and trivializes the rape and killing of a female missionary from a foreign land who was part of a team made up mostly of women and who were doing their part in reforming convicted prison inmates.
"What does this statement say about the character of this candidate for President? It speaks volumes not just about his utter lack of respect for women, which was already well-known even before he launched his candidacy. He does not respect nor care for the sensitivities of the countries with whom the Philippines maintains cordial and cooperative relations. Instead of being concerned about the breach of prison security in Davao City, he laments that as Mayor, he was upstaged by the prison inmates who committed the heinous crimes of rape and murder.
"Indeed, he has confirmed by word and deed why those who oppose his candidacy have expressed utmost concern about his lack of fitness for the presidency," Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma's statement read.
Duterte's presidential rivals also condemned the joke.Vice President Jejomar Binay said Duterte’s statement is revolting and callous.
"Mister Duterte, wala ka bang ina? Wala ka bang anak na babae?” said Binay.
“Nanghinayang ka na hindi mo na-rape ang Australian lay minister. Pinagyabang mo na minolestya mo ang kanyang kasambahay. You are a crazy maniac who doesn't respect women and doesn't deserve to be president,” he added.
Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas echoed the sentiment.
“Seryosong problema ang rape. Anyone who laughs at the ultimate assault on the dignity of women should not be allowed to wield power. Ang babae ay may karapatan, hindi pinaglalaruan. Hindi ito katatawanan, kahayupan ito,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe said Duterte needs to treat women with respect and dignity at all times.
“Ito ay magaspang at hindi katanggap-tanggap, at nagpapakita ng kanyang kawalan ng paggalang sa kababaihan. Dapat paalalahanan si Mayor Duterte na kailangang tratuhin nang may respeto at dignidad ang kababaihan, kalalakihan, at LGBT sa lahat ng oras,” Poe said.
Sen. Miriam Defensor's office, on the other hand, said they will not issue a statement regarding the matter.
Vice presidential candidate Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, meanwhile, on Monday said: "Mayor Duterte's rape joke, not to mention his cursing of Pope Francis, shows that he is really sick in the mind. This guy should not be president of our country."
The Gabriela National Alliance of Women reacted to the issue, saying rape is a serious crime not just against women but against humanity.
They urged Duterte to immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape.
The Philippine Commission on Women on Sunday said, "Trivializing rape through jokes hurts persons who are suffering or may have suffered from the trauma of rape. It also hurts their families and workers who assist victims-survivors who directly see the repercussions of the crime. Rape should never be made a laughing matter; neither should it be used to threaten someone." —Kierrsnerr Gerwin Tacadena/JST/APG/KG, GMA News