Duterte rape 'jokes' bring laughter at PMA grad rites

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
Duterte rape 'jokes' bring laughter at PMA grad rites
At the 02:51 mark of a video of the ceremony that runs around 03:21 hours long, cadets laugh as the president jokes that their junior cadets committed rape.
Screenshot from video stream by Radio Television Malacañang

MANILA, Philippines— A crowd that included the vice president, the Defense secretary, top military officials and diplomats laughed as President Rodrigo Duterte pretended to read out offenses by Philippine Military Academy cadets, which, according to the joke, included rape and multiple rape.

The pardoning of offenses is a tradition at graduation rites of the PMA, but the rape jokes are a recent addition. The jokes have long stopped eliciting shock but, judging from the crowd's reaction, are still amusing.

"The Number One is for rape, putang ina. Ang Number Two is drugs with rape with robbery. Para sa Muntinlupa ito. Pangatlo, multiple rape of the women of Baguio. The beautiful ones. Sino 'yan?" Duterte said as he pretended to read a list of cadet's offenses.

Muntinlupa is where the New Bilibid Prisons are found.

The president said he would let the cadets off for now "because I need good and capable soldiers and I know that one or two is bound to happen, but I will forgive you."

RELATED: Gag orders: When Duterte's 'jokes' are no laughing matter

Aside from Vice President Leni Robredo, whom he quipped no longer smiles at him, the president acknowledged the presence of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other members of the Cabinet, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr.—Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff—and the chiefs of the branches of military service.

Lt. Gen. Ronnie Evangelista—PMA superintendent—Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde of the Philippine National Police, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan and other local officials, were also at the graduation rites.

Robredo has, in the past, said that rape should not be the subject of jokes.

"This not an issue that should be treated with just a shrug. The issue should not be made fun of," the vice president said in September 2018 when Duterte said that there will always be rapes as long as there are beautiful women.

"Ano bang kasalanan ninyo? OK lang ang kasalanan niyo, OK lang. (What are your sins? Your sins are ok. It’s ok.) I hereby pardon all outstanding punishments for the underclassmen 2CL, 3CL, and 4CL of the Cadet Corps, AFP, as recommended by the Superintendent, PMA, effective today,” Duterte said during his speech at the graduation of PMA Mabalasik Class of 2019.

Duterte also jokingly compared the erring cadets to police officers who don’t want to admit their mistakes.

“Para ring pulis natuto na kayo sa pulis [na] ayaw mag-admit (You’re like cops. You already learned from the police who don’t want to admit)," he added.

Duterte's remarks have often been explained as jokes and as part of what makes him endearing to the people, a majority of whom support him and his policies.

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

'Embody courage, loyalty. Serve the country well'

In an earlier part of his speech on Sunday, Duterte urged the graduates of the PMA's Mabalasik Class of 2019 to always “embody courage and loyalty as they pursue the noble careers in the military.”

He repeatedly reminded them to serve the country well. The 2019 batch name stands for “Mandirigma ng Bayan Lakas at Sarili Iaalay para sa Kapayapaan.”

“Serve your country well, die for your country if need be. Remember the young Filipinos yet to come, the children and those who are now studying. Don’t forget them,” the president said.

“If you think that the country it is not ran the way it is and if it will destroy your country, you should know what to do. Do you understand me?” he said.

The 261 graduating cadets said "yes, sir" in unison.

A total of 261 out of the 350 cadets who entered the military academy graduated at the Fort General Gregorio Del Pilar in Baguio City on Sunday.

In his parting words to the graduating cadets, the president advised them to be humble, teachable and grateful. He also reminded them to always look for each other’s back and remain faithful to their new mission.

Be Humble. Nothing beats humility. Always remember that the rank humility and trust of your subordinates and that people that you serve are born out of respect for the office that you carry.

Be teachable in all definitions of disciplines and endeavors the way the success requires others and discipline.

Next, always be grateful. Honor your seniors your officers your professors the enlisted personnel and other civilians who have taught you prayed for you and believed in you.

Lastly, always look at each others' back in the field nobody wins alone. When many old mindsets are fading fast, the new ones are coming from the unprecedented sources.

Our security is not anymore just about arms and equipments it is time complex irrational state and non-state actors may even pose danger to our country.

Given this reality, I ask you to always remain faithful to your mission be a good soldier who will serve the Constitution, protect the people, secure our sovereignty and preserve integrity of our national territory.

Duterte said he is confident the new batch of military officers “can build the foundations of a better safer and more peaceful life for all Filipinos.”

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