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CHR says Duterte violated Magna Carta of Women with rape joke

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has found incoming president Rodrigo Duterte guilty of violating Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women in connection with the infamous rape joke he said during one of his campaign sorties.

“The CHR, in the dispositive part of the resolution found the words and actions of Mayor Duterte to be discriminatory of women that is enjoined by the Magna Carta of Women,” the CHR said in a statement Wednesday.

The CHR said it is leaving it to the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) “to consider taking appropriate measures for the violation of the Magna Carta by Mayor Duterte.”

The CHR’s resolution stemmed from a joint complaint filed by the women’s groups in April at the height of the controversy.

Those who signed the complaint were representatives from Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), World March of Women-Pilipinas (WMW), Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women's Rights), WomanHealth Philippines, Kasarian-Kalayaan (SARILAYA), Sagip-Ilog Pilipinas, Sentro ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas (SENTRO), Labor Education and Research Network (LEARN), and PILIPINA-Ang Kilusan ng Kababaihang Pilipino.

In a video that circulated online in April, Duterte was seen speaking during his campaign sortie about an Australian lay missionary who was gang raped and killed by inmates in Davao jail in 1989 while conducting a religious mission.

Duterte was the mayor of the city at that time.

"Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape? Oo. Isa rin 'yun. Pero napakaganda, dapat mayor muna ang nauna. Sayang," Duterte said to the laughter of the audience.

The remark resulted in a firestorm of controversy, with Australia's Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely even tweeting that "rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialised."

CHR chairperson Chito Gascon said Duterte's statement “breaches to fundamental human rights against gender-based discrimination and violence.”

“The CHR has the sacred constitutional duty to protect human rights and to call out persons when these rights are violated no matter what their position in society may be,” Gascon said.

“The Commission believes that this mandate does not exculpate Mayor Duterte from acts committed or words uttered in the course of the electoral campaign when it involves breaches to fundamental rights, in this case, the prohibition of gender-based discrimination and violence,” he added.

Duterte, the outgoing mayor of Davao City, is set to assume the presidency on June 30 following a landslide victory in the May 9 elections. —KBK, GMA News