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Gabriela tells Duterte: Freedom of expression not an excuse for ‘abusive, misogynistic’ speech

The Gabriela Women's Party told President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday that he cannot use his freedom of expression as an excuse for his "abusive" and "misogynistic" speech.

The party-list made the remark after Duterte accused his female critics of depriving him of his freedom of expression after he drew flak for advising women to stay away from priests.

In a statement, party-list Representatives Arlene Brosas and Emmi De Jesus said that Duterte's freedom of expression can never be used as an excuse for ordering soldiers to rape women and shoot female rebels in the vagina, nor as an alibi for repeatedly sexualizing women in his official activities.

"President Duterte is whining like a crybaby for being supposedly deprived of his freedom of speech when he does not even care at all over the grave deprivation of dignified living that women have been subjected to under his regime," they said.

Speaking at an awarding ceremony for outstanding female law enforcers in Malacañang on Monday, Duterte blasted his female critics for supposedly finding fault in every word he says.

"Do not take me away from the crowd of being a Filipino citizen. Kaya kayong mga gaga kayo, huwag kayong mag-ano. It's the freedom of expression. Kaya sinasadya ko 'yang ganituhin kagaya nito kasi I'm trying to bring you to the limits of despair," Duterte said.

But Brosas and De Jesus said their repeated criticism of Duterte's speech are valid and necessary amid the mounting cases of violence against Filipino women.

"Calling out the President for his lapses in his exercise of his freedoms can barely compensate for the trauma and anguish of women who fall victims to the abuses that his macho-fascist speech and policy declarations laud, reinforce and encourage," they added. —LDF, GMA News