The notorious "Duterte" mouth struck again just when PDP-Laban Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte seems to be doing well in the surveys as he was angrily condemned yesterday after a viral video showed him joking about a murdered Australian rape victim.
Duterte, who promises mass killings of suspected criminals if elected next month, appeared in a video uploaded on YouTube making the joke about the female Australian missionary.
The missionary, Jacqueline Hamill, who was ministering in a prison in Davao City, was raped and killed during a riot by inmates in 1989. Duterte was the city mayor at the time.
"They raped all of the women... There was this Australian lay minister... when they took them out... I saw her face and I thought, 'Son of a bitch. what a pity... they raped her, they all lined up. I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first," Duterte is shown telling a crowd of laughing supporters at a campaign rally.
In a video posted by KylesAwesome that was uploaded last April 12, the said statements of Duterte were supposedly made during a political rally in Amoranto Sports Complex in Quezon City.
Duterte was narrating an incident that took place in 1989 where inmates in Davao City took hostage some missionaries that included an Australian national but were killed by the assault team from the ranks of the police.
Duterte told reporters that he will not apologize for the detestable joke.
"I will not (apologize), as a matter of fact I am willing to lose the presidency, do not make me apologize for something which I did. I will not die if I do not become President," Duterte told reporters.
His rivals, women's groups and commentators on social media quickly denounced his remarks.
President Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma said the comments show "his lack of fitness for the presidency" and his "utter lack of respect for women".
Aquino, who under the constitution cannot seek a second term, is supporting another candidate, Liberal Party (LP) bet, former interior secretary Mar Roxas who trails Duterte in opinion surveys.
Rival presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay called Duterte's remarks "simply revolting".
"You are a crazy maniac who doesn't respect women and doesn't deserve to be president," Binay told Duterte in a statement.
Another candidate Senator Grace Poe, who is just behind Duterte in the surveys, called his comment "distasteful and unacceptable, and reflects his disrespect for women".
One Filipino remarked on Twitter: "I broke down after watching Duterte on Aussie rape. I can't fathom how his followers can laugh at it."
Missionary lashes back
A fellow missionary of Hamill, Robin Haines Merrill, commented on the Youtube video saying she publicly "denounce the presidential candidacy of Duterte."
"Jacqueline was raped and had her throat slit while ministering in the jails in southern Philippines in a 1989 hostage taking," Merrill said in a social media post.
"Love trumps hate. Don't stop loving. Don't vote for people who speak vile things against women!! We are all made in the image of God," she added.
Women's group Gabriela attacked Duterte's remarks, saying rape or any other form of sexual abuse was not a joke "nor something to be trivialized in a joke", especially by someone seeking the presidency.
Many Filipinos have embraced Duterte for his vulgarity-laced speeches, his boasts of sexual conquests and his promised war on crime.
Even when he called Pope Francis a "son of a whore," in a speech last November, his followers in the devoutly Catholic nation quickly forgave him.
Spokesmen for Duterte had no immediate comment when approached by AFP. Many of his followers brushed off the controversy.
"We won't apologize for he has done nothing wrong, it was a clear joke for God's sake," one Filipina supporter said on Twitter.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard bearer Vice President Jejomar "Jojo" Binay slammed Duterte over his insensitive joke saying he should have been the first one to have laid to bed the an unnamed Australian lay minister who had fallen victim a kidnap for ransom group.
In a statement, Binay said Duterte's pronouncement and even jokes are no longer amusing considering he was making fun of women, much more, a kidnap victim.
"The rape and murder of a woman is not funny," said Binay.
"Mister Duterte, don't you have a mother? Don't you have a daughter?" he asked.
"Your statement is simply revolting. Nothing can justify such callous remarks," Binay stressed.
"You were disappointed you were not able to rape the Australian lay minister. You even brag you molested your household help," Binay said.
"You are a crazy maniac who doesn't respect women and doesn't deserve to be president," the vice president averred.
Earlier, as he emphasized women should be respected and that life is sacred, Binay laid out his agenda for women and children as he signed a covenant with women's groups in Zamboanga City.
At the same time, Binay once again took a swipe at Duterte for treating women like "commodities."
"There is a candidate who views women as mere household helps. This candisate thinks he is that macho but in actuality, he is but a braggart who takes pride in bragging how he kills people. This candidate has no respect for women," he said.
Representatives from the Yakan Women Weavers and Tetuan Women's Federation and women officers of the Rural Improvement Club-Talabaan Chapter, Federacion del Barangay Kagawad de Zamboanga, and the Zamboanga City Homeowners and People's Organization Federation signed the covenant.
"As a woman, I take offense at this statement of Mayor Duterte about the rape victim. It is distasteful and unacceptable and reflects his disrespect for women," Poe said in a statement.
"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," she added.
Roxas 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.
"Women have rights, they are not played with. This is not a laughing matter but something beastly," Roxas said.
Poe's running mate, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero also joined in condemning Duterte's statements which was captured on video and has since went viral in the internet.
Escudero could not help but highlight the fact that Duterte has been using women as subject or object of his campaign speeches and his statements are often, if not most of the time, unbecoming of a candidate who is seeking to lead the country.
"Duterte's recent comment about an Australian rape victim should be denounced and deplored. His frequent use of women, regardless of their circumstance, as subject or object of his jokes during his presidential sorties is foul and offensive, to say the least. It is a distasteful attempt to woo voters at the expense of women and by demeaning the dignity of women," he said.
"It sends the wrong signal about rape and violence against women-issues we condemn and not condone and certainly not joke about. We should, at all times, protect and respect the dignity of women and other genders. We do not want the Philippines to become a haven for women and sex offenders," said Escudero.
A group called Stop Corruption Philippines raised a howl at what they called as insensitive remark of the presidential candidate.
"We believe that joke in any form especially that rape is a serious crime against women. For someone who admitted he was sued for act lasciviousness in his younger years, he should be sensitive on the issues pertain violence against women and humanity," the group said.
"Is this the kind of leader we want? Think again," the group said.
Sen. Pia Cayetano, sister of Duterte's running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, likewise expressed alarm over these developments.
In her twitter account, the senator who happens to be also the chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, said she's taking the issue seriously.
In her tweet, Cayetano said she just saw the tags Saturday night and yesterday morning.
"Will talk to mayor Duterte and his team. Rest assured, I always take these issues seriously. May not be able to respond to tweets but I'm dealing with it," she said.
"My stand on gender issues doesn't change. Joking about rape is not funny. As I've said, I've reached out to mayor (Duterte) and his team," she added.
Duterte claim only
a boast - Querubin
Also, claims made by Duterte and his running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on eradicating criminality in the country is not feasible, former Marine Col. Ariel Querubin said yesterday.
Querubin, the chosen "crime czar" of presidential aspirant, Sen. Grace Poe, in the event that she wins in the polls, said rebuffed the tandem's promise of addressing criminality in the country in a period of three to six month's under their administration.
There's no definite time frame in accomplishing the anti-crime tasks, he said.
Querubin, however, noted the possibility of reducing drastically the incidence of crime, corruption and even drug trafficking in a short period of time, provided that the requisites in combating such problems are readily available.
"Maximum and well-equipped intelligence operations from the national down to the barangay level is important. Equally significant in this effort is for government to pay our law enforcers well," he said.
Querubin, who is best remembered for his role in the seven-hour standoff in protest of the supposed voluntary relief of his commandant, Maj. Gen. Renato Miranda at the Marines headquarters in Fort Bonifacio in 2006, admitted to killing dozens of men.
But unlike Duterte, whom Poe also said is being considered as a crime czar or head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Querubin said he killed men in the battlefield or while on tour of duty and will not do the same to a defenseless criminal.
A deeply religious Catholic, Querubin made this assurance yesterday as he confirmed that he has accepted the offer of Sen. Grace Poe to be her anti-crime czar should she win the presidency.
Querubin said he has agreed to take on the role offered by Poe shortly before the Partido Galing at Puso standard bearer made the announcement during the last presidential debate in Cebu City.
"Instead of funeral parlors, I will ask government to build bigger jails," he said when asked how he will deal with criminals.
Although he has become an active member of a Catholic charismatic community, Querubin said he supports the restoration of the death penalty for heinous crimes.
However, he said his law enforcement style should not be compared to that of Duterte who has vowed to put an end to criminality, drug abuse and government corruption within three to six months of his presidency.
"Nobody will be spared if he or she violates the law, kahit pa anak o kamag-anak siya ng pangulo," he replied when asked how he would deal with a situation pointing to Poe's son or any of her relatives as law offenders.
The retired military officer said he is will be honored to serve his country anew even if this means he will have to give up the perks and privileges of a well-secured job as San Miguel Corporation's top executive for security.
"If Sen. Grace wins the presidency, that means, God wants me to serve my country again," he explained.
Querubin believes that the drug abuse problem remains the foremost criminality concern in the country, with the Abu Sayyaf and graft and corruption in government coming closely.
"At least 80 percent of all crimes in this country is drug-related. The source of drugs will be our principal target, but we will treat drug users as victims who will be spared from harm unless they committed a crime," he said.
Only 59, Querubin's record of kills reached 44, all of them in the battlefield against New People's Army and Moro Islamic LIberation Front rebels and Abu Sayyaf bandits.
He led a team that neutralized infamous Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sabaya and earned his Medal of Valor in 2000 by leading a small Marines landing team that faced 800 heavily armed MILF men in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte. They were able to capture Camp John Mack that served as the nerve-center of the Muslim group's secessionist operations.
In his long military career, Querubin has harvested nearly all medals that the AFP could offer, except the Wounded Personnel Medal.