DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte drew heavy flak from three of his rivals for the presidency for jesting about the rape and murder of an Australian lay missionary in a Davao prison in 1989.
The criticisms came after the circulation of a video of the mayor speaking before a crowd, recounting that he was able to take a look at the corpse of the Australian woman.
“[S]ayang. Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila, pinagpilahan nila lahat doon [What a pity. What came to my mind is that they took turns raping the victim],” Duterte said.
He, however, followed the statement with, “Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape? Oo. Isa rin ‘yun. Pero napakaganda. Dapat, ang mayor muna ang mauna [I was furious because she was raped? Yes. That is one [of the reasons]. But [she]was very beautiful. The mayor should have been the first].”
Shocked by Duterte’s statement, Sen. Grace Poe said rape is not a laughing matter and no one deserves to be raped and abused.
“It is distasteful and unacceptable, and reflects his disrespect for women. Rape is a crime and no laughing matter. We should all be outraged at abuses against women,” she added.
Poe noted that while some people may seem impressed with Duterte’s nonchalance and tough talk, he should be reminded that, at all times, women, men and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community should be treated with dignity and respect.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also fumed at Duterte, calling the mayor “a crazy maniac” who does not respect women and does not deserve to be President.”
In a statement issued on Sunday, Binay said, “Hindi nakakatawa ang rape at murder ng isang babae [The rape and murder of a woman is not funny].”
“Mister Duterte, wala ka bang ina? Wala ka bang anak na babae [Mister Duterte, don’t you have a mother? Don’t you have a daughter?] Your statement is simply revolting. Nothing can justify such callous remarks,” he added.
“Nanghinayang ka na hindi mo na-rape ang Australian lay minister. Pinagyabang mo na minolestya mo ang inyong kasambahay [You regret that you weren’t able to rape the Australian lay minister. You boast that you molested your household help]. You are a crazy maniac who doesn’t respect women and doesn’t deserve to be President,” Binay said.
The Vice President, the standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), signed a covenant with women’s groups in Zamboanga City on Saturday as he stressed that women should be respected and that life is sacred.
There, he also took a swipe at Duterte.
“Mayroong isang kandidato diyan, ang tingin sa kababaihan, puros katulong lamang. Ang tingin ng kandidatong pagkapresidenteng ito — machong macho kasi pero saksakan ng yabang — bukod sa pinagyayabang ‘yong pagpatay sa kapwa tao, itong kandidatong ito, walang respeto sa babae [There is one candidate who views women merely as household helps. This presidential candidate —he is very macho but full of arrogance — brags about killing fellow human beings and has no respect for women],” Binay said.
“Pakaingatan ho ninyo, pag-isipan ninyo, kung iboboto ninyo ang isang kandidato na walang respeto sa kababaihan [Take care, think thoroughly if you will vote for a candidate who has no respect for women],” he added.
Former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas referred to Duterte as a “scumbag” for making a joke out of the tragedy that befell the Australian missionary.
“Ang babae ay may karapatan, hindi pinaglalaruan. Hindi ito [rape]katatawanan, kahayupan ito [Women have rights, and they should not be made the butt of jokes. Rape is not a joke. It is an inhuman act],” Roxas said.
“Rape is a serious problem. Anyone who laughs at the ultimate assault on the dignity of women should not be allowed to wield power,” he added.
Not fit for President
Malacañang also denounced Duterte, saying his “immature” remarks proved that he is not fit to be President.
“His statement, recorded on videotape, reveals that since he first served as Davao City mayor [he was elected for the 1988-1992 term], he has not matured nor evolved, and that his offer to serve as President truly deserves serious scrutiny. He makes fun of, and trivializes the rape and killing of a female missionary from a foreign land who was part of a team made up mostly of women and who were doing their part in reforming convicted prison inmates,’ Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
The official quoted an old article published by the Chicago Tribune on August 16, 1989 about the murder of Jacqueline Hamill, then 36.
Coloma said Duterte’s statement on Hamill’s case reveals his character.
“It speaks volumes not just about his utter lack of respect for women, which was already well-known even before he launched his candidacy. He does not respect nor care for the sensitivities of the countries with whom the Philippines maintains cordial and cooperative relations. Indeed, he has confirmed by word and deed why those who oppose his candidacy have expressed utmost concern about his lack of fitness for the presidency,” he added.
WITH JOEL M. SY EGCO