MANILA, Philippines—Presidential candidate Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte received criticisms following his remarks on an Australian missionary raped and killed in a hostage crisis in Davao City in August 1989.
Duterte, during a campaign rally in Quezon City, discussed the two-day hostage crisis in a Davao prison where 21 individuals were killed, including five hostages and 16 prisoners.
Among the slain was Jacqueline Hamill, a 36 year-old Australian lay missionary who became the subject of Duterte’s statement on rape.
Ms. Hamill was a member of a charismatic group called Joyful Assembly of God who was at the prison to conduct a Sunday prayer service. She was gang-raped by prisoners and died in the siege.
“I looked at her (Ms. Hamill) face, [expletive deleted] like a beautiful American actress. [Expletive deleted] what a waste. What came into my mind was they raped her and they lined up for her. I was angry that she was raped, it’s one. But she was very beautiful. The mayor should have had her first. What a pity,” Duterte told the laughing crowd in Filipino.
Duterte’s remarks prompted his fellow politicians to release statements that criticized the mayor’s behavior.
“It is distasteful and unacceptable, and reflects the candidate’s disrespect for women. No human being deserves to be raped and abused. Rape is a crime and no laughing matter. We should all be outraged at abuses committed against women,” Sen. Grace Poe, the closest rival of Duterte in the presidential election said.
“While some may seem impressed with the nonchalance and tough talking stance as portrayed by the candidate himself, he should be reminded that at all times, women, men and the LGBT alike should be treated with dignity and respect,” she added.
Poe also asked the public to join her stand against abuse.
Vice-president and fellow presidential candidate Jejomar “Jojo” Binay characterized Duterte’s statement as “simply revolting”, “callous” and unjustifiable.
“Nanghinayang ka na hindi mo na-rape ang Australian lay minister. Pinagyabang mo na minolestya mo ang inyong kasambahay. (You regret that you didn’t rape an Australian lay minister. You boasted that you molested your maid.) You are a crazy maniac who doesn’t respect women and doesn’t deserve to be president,” he said.
Manuel “Mar” Roxas II who has exchanged heated arguments with Duterte also called out the mayor’s statement on rape.
“Rape is an issue of the utmost seriousness. Anyone who laughs at the ultimate assault on the dignity of women should not be allowed to wield power. All women have rights, they are not anyone’s playthings. These comments are no laughing matter, they are signs of a bestial attitude towards womankind,” Roxas said.
Meanwhile, women’s group Gabriela demanded apology from Duterte.
“Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should immediately apologize for his statements making fun of rape,” Gabriela national vice chairperson Gert Libang said.
“We also challenge him to use his campaign to promote issues that will elevate the condition of women and their families,” she added.
Malacañang echoed the same sentiments.
“It (Duterte’s statement) speaks volumes not just about his utter lack of respect for women, which was already well-known even before he launched his candidacy… 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,” Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
On the other hand, Duterte’s running mate, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano defended the mayor.
“He’s an advocate for women,” the vice-presidential candidate said.
“Siya lang ang taong lumalaban ng tunay para sa bata, matanda at babae (He’s the only person who really fights for children, elderlies and women),” he added.
Sorry, not sorry
Despite demands for apology, Duterte, on Sunday, refused to apologize for his statement and downplayed it as merely an expression of anger. It was simply a gutter language that he grew up speaking, he said.
“Yes, that’s true. I said it. Gutter language. But it was expressed in utter anger,” Duterte told the press.
He also recalled the two-day siege of August 1989, specifically when the body of Ms. Hamill was brought out of the crime scene.
“She was very beautiful. She looks like an actress from America. [Expletive deleted], they had her first. Kill them all!” he exclaimed.
“I grabbed my uzi and rushed inside. Are you (police force) going to follow or not? I consumed one magazine. That’s it. We clashed. Everyone died,” Duterte said.
“In the afternoon, the funeral parlor called and asked who is going to pay the expenses. [Expletive deleted]. I will not pay for it! I told the police to buy banigs (mats) and wrap those monkeys.”
“Where they are going to be buried, they asked. At the public cemetery, I said. Only one grave, don’t give them one for each. Just one grave, put them there,” he added.
It can be recalled that Duterte has been under fire recently for his statement that denoted sexual harassment. In an earlier campaign rally, he recalled a church confession where he went into the room of his maid who was then sleeping, lifted the covers and inappropriately touched the help.
“Just a venial sin, father,” he told the priest.