DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 April) – Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte is not afraid that his statement on the alleged rape of an Australian missionary held hostage and killed in August 1989 would cost him the presidency as he refused to apologize for uttering what he described as “gutter language” in his speech in Amoranto, Quezon City on April 12.
The seven-term Davao City mayor said he was “not joking” and acknowledged the statement he uttered was “gutter language.”
“I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. If it brings me down, let it bring me down. If it brings me up to the presidency, well and good I will serve you but I will not as a matter of honor, apologize,” Duterte told television reporters Sunday afternoon in a 26-minute interview posted on youtube.
In a video clip from the April 12 Amoranto speech that went viral, Duterte said: “Put_ng ina, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin ‘yun. Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang” (Son__b_ch, what a pity. What came to my mind was, they raped her, lined up for her. I was angry because she was raped. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a pity).
ABC News Australia ran a story titled “Rodrigo Duterte: Philippines presidential candidate jokes about rape and murder of Australian missionary.”
Duterte told reporters on Sunday that what he said in Amoranto on April 12 was merely a recounting of what happened during the hostage-taking, and how, in the first incident in April 1989, when prisoners led by Felipe Pugoy held hostage several civilians at the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte, Duterte asked that he be taken hostage in exchange for the freedom of a three-month old child.
The alleged rape of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill happened in the second hostage-taking, in August 1989, that again involved Pugoy, at the detention center of the Metrodiscom (now Camp Domingo Leonor).
“In my utter anger, gutter language yan eh, salitang kanto.. Galit ako nung nagsasalita ako, nung binuksan ko, ang ganda-ganda parang artista galing Amerika. Putang ina naunahan pa ako. patayin mo lahat. Sa galit yun. (I was angry when I said that, when I opened the sheet and saw this beautiful person who looked like an American actress. Son…b..ch, they beat me to her. Kill them all. That was said in anger),” Duterte said, adding, “I was not joking. Yung pag-narrate ko doon sa Amoranto, eh naturalmente para ka namang actor.”
He said he took out his Uzi and fired a magazine to finish off the perpetrators.
“Gutter language yan. Ganyan mga lalaki pag naagsalita. Pu__ina naunahan mo pa ako leche ka. Sorry kung di magustuhan ng iba. Pero yan ang tototo. That is an incident but there is a story behind it. Nung sinabi ko na naunahan pa ang mayor, that is a bad incident. It was a bad remark. It was not a joke. Talagang galit ako nung sinabi ko yan. Ganyan mgasalita mga lalaki. Pu___ ina, naunahan mo pa kao. That’s a cliché,” he said.
He explained he would not apologize to any entity or person. “I will not.. I am even willing to lose the presidency. Do not make me apologize for something which I did nga talagang it was called for by the moment.”
He said he does not care if he loses the Gabriela votes. “I will not die if I do not become President. But certainly as a matter of honor, I will stick to my guns. I said it in the heat of anger. “
“I am sorry for the Filipino people. It’s my style. It’s my mouth .. I said it in the heat of anger but listen to the story behind,” he said.
“I will apologize to the Filipino people … because in the first place every crime that is committed against a hapless citizen is always the responsibility of government.
That the (1989 hostage taking) turned out to be bloody and gory, sorry,” but reiterated he would not apologize for what he said.
He said that portion of his Amoranto speech on the Australian missionary was “not a joke. I said it in a narrative. I was not smiling. I was just talking.”
‘Rape is a serious crime’
Gabriela Southern Mindanao issued no statement but the national Gabriela said rape is “a serious crime not just against women but against humanity” and is “not a joke nor something to be trivialized in a joke, especially by a public official and most especially by those aspiring for the highest post in the land.”
It said Duterte “should immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape” and challenged him to “use his campaign to promote issues that will elevate the condition of women and their families.”
The Philippine Commission on Women in its statement said rape is a “gross violation of human rights and wholly not acceptable.”
“Trivializing rape through jokes hurts persons who are suffering or may have suffered from the trauma of rape. It also hurts their families and workers who assist victims-survivors who directly see the repercussions of the crime. Rape should never be made a laughing matter; neither should it be used to threaten someone. The repercussions of rape jokes are serious and damaging; victim-survivors once more recount their horrible experiences and recall the pain and suffering,” it said.
The PCW called on everyone to be “mindful of this serious and alarming issue” and to “dream and work collectively in creating a society where every person is valued, human dignity is upheld, and victims of despicable crimes such as rape are never denigrated to a laughingstock.”
It cited records from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that for the first half of 2015, reported rape cases went up to 8,288 from 5,069 cases during the same period in 2014.
While Duterte referred to his language as “gutter language,” Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, President of Duterte’s party, the Partidong Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban), told MindNews Sunday afternoon that what Duterte uttered was a “crude joke.”
“I got worried akala ko he is being accused of rape. Hindi naman pala. It’s a case of a ‘crude’ joke. Tawag dyan sa Amerika ‘political incorrectness,’” Pimentel told MindaNews in a text message.
He added: “But we have accepted the personality of our Presidential candidate a long time ago. We live with that. We die with that. There might be a price to pay for political incorrectness here in the Philippines. We live with that, too. We hope that he won’t be too much criticized for what is obviously a side comment meant to ‘lighten’ a serious subject matter.”
After Duterte’s videotaped interview explaining his Amoranto remarks, Pimentel sent MindaNews a text message that Duterte had clarified his statement, that “he was recalling events decades ago. And he quoted himself as saying those words during that incident in 1989. Actual quotation from an actual event.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)