Duterte story about touching sleeping househelp not obscene — Palace

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Duterte story about touching sleeping househelp not obscene � Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech after leading the ceremonial distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Awards to agrarian reform beneficiaries of Cotabato Province at the Provincial Gymnasium Capitol Compound in Kidapawan City, Cotabato on December 29, 2018. Also in the picture is Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, and North Cotabato First District Representative Emmylou Mendoza.
Presidential Photo / Albert Alcain

'They were laughing. If it was obscene, the reaction of the audience would have been bad'

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:05 p.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte will not apologize for his "confession" of touching a sleeping maid in his youth, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Thursday, adding the story was not obscene anyway.

In a spech in Cotabato last week, the president shared how he confessed to a priest about trying "to touch what was inside the panty" of their househelp.

"Definitely, hindi (not). Precisely sinadya niya nga 'yun kaya sinasabi niya (he did that on purpose that's why he was saying) that was intentionally made. It was a concocted story to dramatize the hyprocrisy of a particular man in cloak," Panelo said in a Malacañang briefing.

The Malacañang spokesman insisted that Duterte's remarks were not obscene as the audience at the event were even laughing.

"Hindi naman mahalay 'yung kwento niya. Nagtatawanan nga. Alam mo 'pag mahalay, ang reaksyon ng audience masama, magagalit sa kanya," Panelo said.

(His story was not obscene. They were laughing. If it was obscene, the reaction of the audience would have been bad, they would be angry at him)

Among the officials whose presence Duterte acknowledged in his speech at the December 29 event in Kidapawan City were Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, and "local government officials of Cotabato Province."

RELATED: Palace on Duterte's comment on saints: People laughed, weren't offended

Panelo even blamed those who are "ultra conservative" and critics of the president for making an issue on the president's latest remarks.

According to Panelo, Duterte was only trying to get his message across by exaggerating his story.

"Haven't you noticed napakagaling ni president maggawa ng kuwento, mga kathang kuwento o kuwento na nangyari pero ine-exaggerate niya para lang ma-tone down 'yung bigat ng mensahe para mas madaling tanggapin rather than 'yung style na mumurahin mo nang husto 'yung dapat mong banatan," the Malacañang spokesman said.

(The president is really good at making stories, fictional stories or stories that happened already but he exaggerates them to tone down the weight of the message so that it can be easily accepted rather than the style of cursing at those who you want to attack)

Asked if the president was aware that he "gets into trouble" when he makes controversial statements, Panelo said Duterte "couldn't care less" if there would be an erosion in public trust.

What the president intends is to deliver a message that the public would understand, Panelo added.

"He is initiating a discourse. Gusto niya buksan ang taumbayan upang magkaroon ng malawakan at malalim na diskusyon kaugnay sa mga paniniwala sa punto ng relihiyon," he said.

(He wants to open the public to have an extensive and profound discussion on religious beliefs)

Duterte made the remarks on committing a lewd act when he was young amid continuing his verbal attacks against the Catholic Church.

The president, who previously claimed that a priest molested him when he was a student, had accused a priest of praying for his death in a mass. The Church has been critical of Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs, expressing alarm over thousands of deaths related to the so-called war on drugs.

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