The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday issued a resolution after finding incoming President Rodrigo Duterte discriminated against women in violation of Republic Act 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women in connection with his “joke” about an Australian rape-slay victim.
“The CHR, in the dispositive part of the resolution, found the words and actions of Mayor Duterte to be discriminatory of women that is enjoined by the Magna Carta of Women,” the CHR said in a statement.
It has asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to consider taking appropriate measures for the violation of the Magna Carta by Duterte, also the incumbent mayor of Davao City.
The mayor will have assumed the presidency on June 30.
“The CHR has the sacred constitutional duty to protect human rights and to call out persons when these rights are violated no matter what their position in society may be,” CHR Chairman Chito Gascon said.
“The commission believes that this mandate does not exculpate Mayor Duterte from acts committed or words uttered in the course of the electoral campaign when it involves breaches to fundamental rights, in this case, the prohibition of gender-based discrimination and violence,” he added.
Leaders of several women’s rights groups filed a complaint before the commission last April 20, saying “to make the rape of a woman who was later killed a laughing matter, and to treat women as playthings to be taken advantaged of constitute an affront to all women.”
The complaint was signed by representatives from Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific, World March of Women-Pilipinas, Lilak (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), WomanHealth Philippines, Kasarian-Kalayaan, Sagip-Ilog Pilipinas, Sentro ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas, Labor Education and Research Network and PILIPINA-Ang Kilusan ng Kababaihang Pilipino.
In one of his campaign sorties, Duterte made a joke on the Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill who was gang-raped and killed in 1989 in a Davao City prison.
He said he was angry not just because she was raped but she was so beautiful and that he should have been first.
In the same resolution, the CHR made recommendations to other government agencies to take positive steps to prevent similar incidents from further happening.
It asked Congress to revisit the Magna Carta of Women and to include other punitive sanctions for direct violations by individuals of the rights enumerated and to amend Republic Act 7877 or the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act, ahead of requiring all employers to conduct yearly gender sensitivity seminars for all its employees.
The CHR said the Commission on Elections should ordain and institute a code of conduct for candidates for public office and political parties to adhere to gender-sensitive language and conduct during campaigns, and to promote the rights of women.
It added that the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education and educational institutions must incorporate gender mainstreaming and gender sensitivity education in their curricula in order to foster a culture of respect for the rights of women.
The CHR also recommended the Civil Service Commission to study the passage of a resolution requiring all government officials to undergo yearly gender sensitivity seminars.