With his controversial statements and remarks, his spokesman once again defended President Rodrigo Duterte to his critics, pointing that he should be taken seriously and not literally.
“I have been saying again and again, do not take the President literally but take him seriously,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. told the media.
He was referring to the President’s statement in February 7 that was lambasted by some women’s rights and human rights groups.
“Tell the soldiers. ‘There’s a new order coming from mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,’” Duterte was speaking in his native Visayan language, recalling an order Davao City’s former mayor.
In the official transcript’s translation, the word “vagina” was omitted.
Roque insisted that protecting women’s rights for their welfare is a priority of the President. Furthermore, according to him, Duterte was just angry that communist rebels betrayed his trust by abandoning the government’s peace process.
Gabriela in a statement labeled Duterte as “the most dangerous macho-fascist in government” as this remark “openly encourages violence against women and contributes to impunity on such.”
Carlos Conde, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher also said that the latest remark on fire is “just the latest in a series of misogynist, derogatory, and demeaning statements.”
This is not the first time for Roque to defend the President’s remarks on women. Earlier this month, he said that some feminists can be overacting.
According to a story Roque 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.