Duterte apologizes: No intention of disrespecting women and rape victims

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Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte made an official apology for his recent controversial rape statement about an Australian woman who was taken hostage and raped in Davao City.

Duterte earlier said he killed the criminals who raped and killed hostages, including the Australian missionary named Jacqueline Hamill, in 1989.

During one of his rallies, Duterte made a joke on the incident and was quoted referring to Hamill, “Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang.”

[Translation: “But she was so beautiful, I think the mayor should have been first. What a waste."]

Watch: Duterte draws flak for rape 'joke'

On Tuesday (April 19), Duterte issued an apology in a statement.

"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," he said. "Sometimes my mouth can get the better of me."

The mayor, however, said he will not say sorry for the things he has done "to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime."

"I know what it can do to the victims and their families. The anguish and pain they cause. The trauma that can't be erased," he continued. "I have witnessed these myself numerous times. This is why I am angry. I am angry because horrendous things like this continue to happen to our women and children all over our land."

Also read: Presidential rivals take swipe at Duterte for rape statement

The Davao City mayor continued saying that if he gets elected, he vows to protect women, children and families "from the horrors and disorder of crime."

"I will do this even if I lose my life, my honor and even the presidency. My life is an open book. I am a man of many flaws and contradictions," he said. "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 fight for the people until my last breath."

Also read: Duterte's rape slur may affect his presidential bid — analyst

In an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday (April 19), Duterte's political adviser, Lito Banayo, said his camp drafted the apology statement and the mayor gave his approval.