Rody on rape remark: I am sorry in general
(The Philippine Star) - April 18, 2016 - 10:00am

No backing out of bid for president

MANILA, Philippines - Under fire from many sectors, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte yesterday apologized to the people “in general” over remarks he made about an Australian woman who was raped and slain in a hostage incident in 1989.

But the tough talking mayor stressed he was not saying sorry to any individual or group.

He also said it was too late for him to withdraw from the presidential race.

In a Facebook post, he said people have contributed to his campaign and expected him to finish the race after surveys showed him as the presidential front-runner: “Hindi na ako makaatras kasi marami nang nagbigay sa akin ngayon na mataas na ang rating ko… May mga nagbibigay ng pera.”

“I am sorry in general. I am sorry to the Filipino people. It is my style. It is my mouth. I said that in the heat of anger, but listen to the story behind it,” he said. “Huwag kayo basta na lang paambak-ambak diyan (do not just jump to conclusions).” 

Duterte also slammed his rivals, Vice President Jejomar Binay and Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, who condemned his rape comment.

“If you do not like people who talk like this, sorry. Be with the English spokening (speaking), the coño (socialites), the thieves who do nothing. What did you do with your courage? Binay, you only stole. Roxas, you are very fussy, get yourself hostage,” he said in Filipino. 

He also called on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines to go slow in castigating him and condemning him for his “gutter language.”

“I thought that all the while, I was doing my duties to humanity. And now they are castigating me for my mouth?” he said.

In a video posted on YouTube, Duterte was commenting about an Australian woman who was raped and killed in a hostage incident in a Davao prison in 1989.

“Napakaganda, dapat ang mayor ang mauna (she was very beautiful, the mayor should be the first in line),” Duterte said.

Duterte stood his ground that he would not apologize to any individual or group even if it means losing the presidency.

“I am even willing to lose the presidency. Do not make me apologize for something, which was called for at that moment. I can lose Gabriela and all, I don’t care,” he said when asked to comment on the appeal of Gabriela women’s party for him to issue a public apology.

“But certainly, as a matter of honor, I will stick to my guns. I said it in the heat of anger,” he explained. “I am the master of my faith and the captain of my choice. If it brings me down, let it bring me down. If it brings me up to the presidency, well, I will serve you.”

Koko defends Dirty Rody

Duterte found a defender in Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, saying the mayor has no intention to offend women.

“He was just narrating what happened in 1989. He quoted what he said way back in 1989. That was accurate storytelling,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel, president of PDP-Laban which has Duterte as its official presidential candidate, said that he does not mind the criticism but is hoping that this would not have too much of a negative effect on his ratings.

For Sen. Ralph Recto, the latest case of Duterte should highlight the need to stop rape and all kinds of violence against women.

Recto noted that official reports indicate a woman or child is raped every 50 minutes. 

Last year alone, rape cases reported to the police and other law enforcement agencies reached 10,298, up from 9,887 in 2014. The PNP in 2014 reported 40,220 violence against women incidents and 38,269 cases of abuse inflicted on children. 

“Combined, 78,489 is the sum of our fears of a widespread malady that must be stopped. Every six minutes, a child or a woman is being hurt somewhere,” Recto said.

Duterte’s supporters disappointed

Some of Duterte’s supporters were disappointed by his rape joke, but stood firm that a bad joke would not stop them from voting for him. 

Jaywils Adlawan, Duterte’s youth volunteer in Tacloban City, admitted that he was “quite disappointed.”

But Adlawan said he understands where Duterte is coming from, as the mayor is only being true to himself. 

“What would you choose, a bad joke or a bad government?” he added.

Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña told The STAR that Duterte has explained his side. 

“This election is about changing the course of our nation, which is sliding into the abyss. It is not about varnishing the image of Duterte,” Laviña said in a text message.

Duterte’s supporter Umar Sontosidad commented on Laviña’s Facebook post.

The “mayor should take caution from now on sir. The enemies are just looking for tiny mistakes he commits then blow them out of proportion since they own the mass media,” Sontosidad said. 

Ryan Alcain, another supporter of Duterte, asked Laviña if the mayor’s camp could shift strategy and “let him speak in a positive way.” 

Facebook user Susan Logatoc-Tomimbang said Duterte should “be more careful with his words.”

“Di rin po maganda ang mura. Ginagaya po ng mga bata (spewing profanity is not acceptable. The children are imitating it),” she added.

Duterte needs a helpful VP

Meanwhile, Duterte’s runningmate Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano called on voters to give Duterte a vice president who will help him bring change to the country.

He stressed the need to elect a vice president who will help Duterte fulfill his goal of restoring order in people’s lives and ending the cycle of disorder brought about by corruption, crime and illegal drugs.

He also stressed the need to elect leaders with the political will and strength of character to effect bold solutions and swift actions in addressing the country’s disorder.

“If you want change, support, pray for and vote for Mayor Duterte. But do not give him a vice president that will hinder change,” Cayetano said during the Harapan ng Bise vice presidential debate on Sunday.

“If we will give him a vice president that can be controlled by businessman, that VP will hinder change. If we will give him a VP that is okay but wants an incompetent and slow government, nothing will change. More so if we will give him a VP that is corrupt and a pet of (alleged pork barrel scam mastermind) Janet Napoles. How will Mayor Duterte stop corruption if his vice president is busy recovering money spent?” he added.

He said Duterte is the only presidential candidate that has what it takes to create real changes in people’s lives.

“If we are going to think about it, he does not have to run for president because he accomplished many things in Davao. But I know that in Mayor Duterte’s heart, he does not want to leave this world without trying to change the Philippines,” he added.  – With Marvin Sy, Edith Regalado

 

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