Duterte says sorry for rape remarks

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte on Tuesday issued an apology for his controversial remark about a rape victim, days after it earned him criticism from political rivals and on social media.

"I apologize to the Filipino people for my recent remarks in a rally. There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this horrible crime," Duterte said. "Sometimes, my mouth can get the better of me.”

Duterte however said he will not apologize for what he has done “to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime."

The mayor issued the apology days after a video of him speaking at a political rally and telling a story about an operation against criminals who raped a number of women went viral and sparked negative reactions. In the video, he said he was angry over the rape of one of the victims, an Australian lay minister whom he likened to a beautiful American actress, and remarked that the mayor (Duterte) should "have been first." The audience at the rally could clearly be heard laughing on the video.

Duterte has since clarified that it was not a rape joke and has said his remark was made in "gutter language" and in "utter anger".  In his statement video released Sunday, he refused to apologize for the remark but said that he was sorry in general.

READ: Duterte on rape 'joke': No apologies  | Rody on rape remark: I am sorry in general

Duterte promised he would protect women, children and families from crime even if it costs him his life. He said that crimes continue to happen to women and children as the government has failed to protect them.

“If you will give me the chance to lead this country, I promise to all of you that I will protect our women, children and families from the horrors and disorders of crime. I will do this even if I lose my life, my honor and even the presidency,” Duterte said.

“My life is an open book. I am a man of many flaws and contradictions. But when it comes to securing the lives and future of our countrymen and women, you can trust me to do the right thing. I will flight for the people until my last breath,” he added.

Duterte responds to CBCP, Australian Embassy

On Monday, Duterte called on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to slow down on condemning him for his remarks.

"CBCP, dahan-dahan kayong mag-condemn ng tao. I thought all the while I was doing my duties for humanity. And now you are castigating me for my mouth?"  Duterte said.

This was Duterte’s reaction to the CBCP’s appeal to the public to not vote for him because the mayor violated of the Ten Commandments particularly killing of people. Duterte said it is unfortunate that the bishops joined the surge of criticism thrown at him following his comment on rape.

Duterte however shrugged off the bishop's campaign against him and insisted that he may have a foul mouth but he is not a thief and asked the public choose between the two. 

"Correct. Do not vote for me," Duterte said. “Ako yung kandidato na masama yung bunganga, pumapatay ng criminal pero CBCP, hindi ako magnanakaw,” he added.

Duterte earlier said he does not care if his choice of words will cost him the elections, saying it was “street slang, a derogation, and not a slur.” He said that "if it is not acceptable to the cultured people, let it be. If it means my defeat, so be it," he said.

His rape remark, which has been picked up by international news agencies, prompted Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely to say rape should “not be joked nor trivialized.”

Duterte responded by saying the Australian government shall stay away from the issue. “I don't want anyone controlling me. I say what I say, and I have said it," he said.

RELATED: Australia: Rape should never be joked about

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