Duterte stirred controversy anew last week when he joked that there were many cases of rape in his home city of Davao because there are many beautiful women there. Critics have condemned the President’s remark and said that sexual abuse is not a joking matter.
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Duterte: ‘Rape joke? It’s freedom of expression’
(The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2018 - 12:00am

JERUSALEM – President Duterte yesterday cited freedom of expression to justify his latest remark on rape and to defend presidential communications assistant secretary Mocha Uson, who has been accused of poking fun at federalism.

Duterte stirred controversy anew last week when he joked that there were many cases of rape in his home city of Davao because there are many beautiful women there. Critics have condemned the President’s remark and said that sexual abuse is not a joking matter.

The President, however, justified his controversial statement and claimed that one is tempted to commit rape because of beautiful women.

“They would say again I am a misogynist. There are many rape cases in Davao. I said, ‘perhaps there are many beautiful women in Davao.’ I did not say all of them were raped,” Duterte said during a meeting with about 1,400 Filipinos here.

“But you are almost mesmerized or tempted. That’s how you control yourself. It is a democracy. Freedom of expression,” he added.

Duterte has been called a sexist for his jokes and comments that were widely seen as demeaning to women.

During a campaign sortie in 2016, Duterte was heavily criticized for his remark about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City in 1989.

Duterte, then the mayor of Davao City, said the missionary looked like an actress and as mayor “he should have been first.” He justified his remark by saying he was just expressing his anger over the crime.

In May last year, Duterte said he would take the place of any soldier convicted of rape committed under martial law in Mindanao.

Last year, Duterte drew sharp rebuke for saying that if a soldier rapes three women, he would own up to it. Officials explained that Duterte was just emphasizing the fact that he would be responsible for the actions of the troops as their commander-in-chief.

Earlier this year, Duterte said he would use “virgins” to lure investors and tourists to mock the Islamist terrorists’ belief that they would be rewarded with virgins if they die like a martyr.

Officials have denied that Duterte is sexist, citing his pro-woman programs when he was mayor, like the creation of a reproductive health center and his strong anti-criminality drive that made streets safer.

During the meeting with the Filipino community, Duterte was reminded twice by the protocol staff to refrain from cursing.

The staff also passed a note to Duterte reminding him that his speech was being aired live by state-run television network PTV and on social networking sites. The reminders, however, failed to prevent Duterte from blurting out profanities against drug lords and critics of his war on narcotics.

Duterte also defended Uson, who recently uploaded a dance video on federalism that offended even allies of his administration.

The President said while Mocha has committed excesses, she is entitled to free expression.

“Si Mocha maraming kalaban. There are things na tingin ko medyo nasobrahan (Mocha has a lot of enemies. I think there are things that went overboard),” Duterte said.

“But just the same, as a President who is sworn to protect the Constitution and enforce it, it is covered with the privilege – freedom of expression. Whatever they want to say, whether she is an employee of my office or outside as a private citizen, that is not really my concern. As long as it is covered sa provision ng Constitution – freedom of expression,” he added.

Uson came under fire for uploading an episode of an online game show that featured a suggestive dance about federalism.

A pro-Duterte blogger gestured to his crotch and chest, and shouted “I-pepe, I-dede, Ipederalismo,” a chant that contained Filipino terms for vagina and breast.

Leni Robredo hits rape joke

Vice President Leni Robredo was not happy with Duterte’s latest remark about rape, saying the topic is never a laughing matter.

“For me, not just as a woman, but as a human being, any statement implying that rape is a fault of a woman is not a laughing matter,” Robredo told reporters yesterday at the Quezon City Reception House, where she holds office. – Alexis Romero, Helen Flores, Christina Mendez

FEDERALISM MOCHA USON RAPE RODRIGO DUTERTE
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