Malacañang on Saturday called Senator Risa Hontiveros “out of touch” after she described President Rodrigo Duterte’s first year in office as a year of “misogyny.”
In a radio interview, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella told Hontiveros to judge Duterte’s first year not through his words but through his performance.
“She seems to be pretty out of touch regarding the matter… We hope that Senator Hontiveros should judge the President not by the word that he says, but for what he stands for,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio.
Abella said during Duterte’s stint as Davao City mayor, his city implemented a local version of the Reproductive Health Law even before the national law took effect.
He also said that the President has always been supportive of the Women’s Code, which was passed by the Davao City Council in 1997.
To ensure the full participation of communities in the campaign, Abella said Davao City has created village councils that would monitor and report cases of violence against women and children.
During Duterte’s stint as mayor, he said a Women and Children Protection Unit was also established by the local government at the Southern Philippines Medical Center to provide psychological help to women and children who are victims of physical or sexual assault.
“So, what we are saying here is that we need to see it is not just on the words of the President…But we need to go back to what he actually stands for at tsaka po ‘yung mga pinaggagawa niya [and his accomplishments],” he said.
“If only the Senator would really look and not just make comments based on prejudgments and kneejerk reactions, I would say that we would be in a better place,” Abella added.
Hontiveros, during a women’s forum at the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday, noted the “surge in the culture of sexism” under the Chief Executive’s watch.
“The first year of the Duterte government is a dangerous year to be a woman. It is marked by a colossal human rights crisis. It is the year of misogyny and extrajudicial killings It is a year of national grieving,” she said.
Hontiveros, who also chairs the Senate committee on women, slammed Duterte for his “profound, palpable hatred and persecution of women leaders who dare stand up to the blatant disregard for human life.”
The opposition senator listed the examples that would show the “growing misogynist culture” in the Duterte government. These include Duterte’s “trivialization of rape, reference of women public leaders to body parts, catcalling a female reporter and justifying it as freedom of expression and as a compliment, the distasteful reality of gender-based online harassment, and slut-shaming, and fake news as weapons to stifle political dissent and lie to the public.”
The President has been criticized several times by different sectors, including his allies, for his foul mouth and his jokes about rape. Recently, he said he would answer for his soldiers even if they would rape up to three women.