With the number of jokes on women the President has been making in his speeches, his spokesman chooses to defend him by saying that his feminist critics can be overreacting.
In an interview with Franco Mabanta posted on his Facebook page on February 7, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. made the remark as he recalled funny stories told by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“There’s a lot. He is so lovable because sometimes, he’s so funny,” Roque said.
According to a story he remembered, Duterte was joking about being accused by an international criminal court.
“He’s saying, ‘Well, I don’t mind for as long as you allow conjugal visits by more than one woman,’” the Spokesman said, quoting the President.
“You know, sometimes, these feminists are really a bit OA. I mean, that’s funny. Come on. Just laugh,” he added.
Roque, however, followed that this humor and trait of the President are what make Filipinos love him more.
“Because in the Philippines, even if we are in despair even if we are like even hopeless, instead of crying, we laugh,” Roque said, adding, “So, I think that’s very Filipino. And that’s why people identify with his humor.”
The President, known for his strongman remarks and swearing, has also made several ‘jokes’ on women and rape, which irked feminists.
Just recently in his visit to New Delhi, India last month, he made a joke of using “42 virgins” as offerings to tourists visiting the Philippines.
This has sparked critics to react and slam Duterte.
“These kinds of repeated sexist remarks strip Filipino women of their dignity and human rights. It diminishes women’s ownership of their bodies and reduces them to mere sexual objects,” CHR said in a statement.
The Palace through Roque defended him in a statement, “That was clearly said in jest. There is no need to clarify what was really a joke made by the president if you don’t mind. I’m sure it was said as a joke. I’m sure it was a joke.”