Presidential rivals take swipe at Duterte for rape statement

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Presidential candidate Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte is on the hot seat again, after making a statement about an Australian woman who was taken hostage and raped in Davao City.

In a Youtube video of Duterte’s statement published on Saturday (April 16), Duterte said he thinks that the Australian victim was beautiful and likened her to an American actress.

Duterte was referring to an incident at the Davao City Jail during his first term as mayor. According to an August 1989 report by the Chicago Tribune, inmates took 15 church workers — including the Australian woman lay minister— hostage after grabbing their guards' weapons.

The woman "was raped and had her throat slashed by a gang of inmates before troops stormed the prison in downtown Davao." Five of the dead were hostages.

Nirape nila lahat ng mga babae so 'yung unang asolte, kasi nagretreat sila, naiwan yung ginawa nilang cover, ang isa doon yung layminister na Australyana. Tsk, problema na ito. Pag labas, edi binalot. Tiningnan ko yung mukha, 'tang ina parang artista sa America na maganda,” Duterte said.

He continued: “Putang ina, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin 'yun. Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang."

[Translation: "They raped the women, so the first assault because they retreated, they used the bodies as cover, one of those was the body of the Australian woman lay minister. Tsk, this is a problem. When they went out, they wrapped the body. I looked at the face, son of a b*tch she looks like a beautiful American celebrity. Son of a b*tch, what a waste. I thought, they raped her, they lined up to her. I was angry she was raped, yes that was one thing. But she was so beautiful, I think the mayor should have been first. What a waste."]

Not a good joke

In its Facebook post on Monday (April 18), the Australian embassy said rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialised.

Although the statement did not specifically say that the Australian embassy is referring to Duterte's statement, it stated: "Violence against women and girls is unacceptable anytime, anywhere."

This is not the first time Duterte has been criticized for seemingly objectifying women. And of course, his rivals did not miss this chance to swipe at the mayor for his statement.

Administration bet Manuel “Mar” Roxas II said that rape is a serious problem and “anyone who laughs at the ultimate assault on the dignity of women should not be allowed to wield power.”

Roxas added: “Ang babae ay may karapatan, hindi pinaglalaruan. Hindi ito katatawanan, kahayupan ito.” [Translation: "Women have rights, they should not be toyed with. It’s not a joke, this is debauchery."]

Duterte’s closest rival, independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe, meanwhile said as a woman, she takes offense at Duterte’s statement.

“It is distasteful and unacceptable, and reflects his disrespect for women,” Poe said. “No one, whoever she is and whatever her looks may be, deserves to be raped and abused.  Rape is a crime and no laughing matter. We should all be outraged at abuses against women.”

Poe continued, “while some may seem impressed with the mayor's nonchalance and tough talking stance, he should be reminded that at all times, women, men and the LGBT alike should be treated with dignity and respect.”

Emphasizing that women should be respected and that life is sacred, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) bet Vice President Jejomar Binay once again took a swipe at Duterte for treating women like "commodities."

“Hindi nakakatawa ang rape at murder ng isang babae. Mister Duterte, wala ka bang ina? Wala ka bang anak na babae? Your statement is simply revolting. Nothing can justify such callous remarks.”

[Translation: Rape and murder of a woman is not funny at all. Mister Duterte, don’t you have a mother? Don’t you have daughters? Your statement is simply revolting. Nothing can justify such callous remarks.]

Binay added, “Nanghinayang ka na hindi mo na-rape ang Australian lay minister. Pinagyabang mo na minolestya mo ang inyong kasambahay. You are a crazy maniac,” Binay said.

[Translation: You regret that you were not able to rape the Australian lay minister? You also brag about molesting your helper. You are a crazy maniac.]

Binay also said Duterte, who doesn't respect women, does not deserve to be elected president.

Duterte not apologizing

Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday (April 17) said he is not making any apologies over his controversial "rape statement."

According to Duterte, he made such a statement back in 1989 and that he was merely narrating it during a rally in Quezon City last April 12.

In an interview, Duterte admitted having said such statement back then but clarified that he blurted it at a time when his emotions was high due to the death of civilians during a hostage-taking incident.

"Totoo 'yon. Sinabi ko 'yon. Gutter language, but it was expressed in utter anger." [It's true. I said it. Gutter language, but it was expressed in utter anger.]

Among the dead was Australian preacher Jackie Hammil who was the subject of Duterte's controversial statement, a remark that drew flak from various individuals and groups who demanded an apology from him.

Duterte said he will not apologize to any particular group or individual. He said that if he would ever apologize, he would direct it to the Filipino people who could have been affected by his ways of telling the truth.

“If it brings me down, let it bring me down. If it brings me up to the presidency, then well and good. I will serve you but I will not as a matter of honor apologize for (it).”

CNN Philippines senior correspondent Ina Andolong, correspondent Joyce Ilas and Davao-based journalist Ben Tesiorna contributed to this report.