What does he have vs women?


Less than two years after he as­sumed the coun­try’s top gov­ern­ment post, Pres­i­dent Duterte has hurled in­sults at sev­eral women in lead­er­ship po­si­tions, in­clud­ing de­tained Sen. Leila de Lima, ousted Chief Jus­tice Maria Lour­des Sereno, Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo, Om­buds­man Con­chita Car­pio Mo­rales, In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court Chief Prose­cu­tor Fa­tou Ben­souda, UN Spe­cial Rap­por­teur Agnes Cal­la­mard, Aus­tralian Catholic nun Pa­tri­cia Fox and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund Manag­ing Di­rec­tor Christine La­garde.

The Pres­i­dent has also told gov­ern­ment troops to “shoot NPA [New Peo­ple’s Army] rebels in the vag­ina,” and re­cently or­dered the re­moval of the statue of a com­fort woman “to avoid of­fend­ing Ja­pan.”

Ear­lier, he pe­ti­tioned a Re­gional Trial Court to de­clare “ter­ror­ist” the NPA rebel group, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria Tauli-Cor­puz, who was ap­pointed UN spe­cial rap­por­teur on the rights of indige­nous peo­ples in 2014.

The Pres­i­dent first gained in­ter­na­tional repro­ba­tion in 2016, when he made light of the rape of an Aus­tralian mis­sion­ary killed dur­ing a 1989 prison riot in Davao City.

Mo­rales suc­ces­sor

Mr. Duterte’s lat­est re­marks on what qual­i­fi­ca­tions the suc­ces­sor of Om­buds­man Mo­rales should pos­sess had be­come as con­tro­ver­sial. She re­tires in July.

“I want some­one known for in­tegrity. Not a politi­cian, and es­pe­cially not a woman,” the Pres­i­dent told re­porters on Wed­nes­day night.

His state­ment speaks of “sick, macabre misog­yny,” Gabriela Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Ar­lene Brosas and Emmi de Je­sus said.

“[His re­marks] run counter to the con­sti­tu­tional man­date of the state to en­able women to re­al­ize their full po­ten­tial in the ser­vice of the na­tion,” Brosas and De Je­sus said in a joint state­ment.

The two law­mak­ers added: “What does Pres­i­dent Duterte fear of women? Why is he so threat­ened by women?”


The Pres­i­dent’s state­ment shows his “para­noia for strong up­right women lead­ers,” said Loretta “Etta” Rosales, emer­i­tus chair emer­i­tus of the Ak­bayan party-list group.

“This com­ment, along­side an ear­lier com­ment that (Chi­nese) Pres­i­dent XI Jin­ping will not al­low for his ouster as Pres­i­dent, re­flects para­noia that speaks badly of a sit­ting Pres­i­dent whose oath of al­le­giance in­cludes pro­tect­ing the coun­try against for­eign in­ter­fer­ence and en­sur­ing the equal pro­tec­tion of law with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion as to gen­der, reli­gion and po­lit­i­cal be­lief,” Rosales said.

“To dis­credit women as less qual­i­fied for sim­ply be­ing women in­sults the tra­di­tion of ex­cel­lence that Filip­inas have ex­hib­ited across fields, in­clud­ing in the law pro­fes­sion,” said Com­mis­sion on Hu­man Rights spokesper­son Jac­que­line de Guia.

“Both men and women, are cre­ated equal in rights and op- por­tu­ni­ties, and we call on the Pres­i­dent to rec­og­nize women as equally qual­i­fied to lead an of­fice as cru­cial as the Of­fice of the Om­buds­man,” De Guia added.

Roque’s de­fense

But pres­i­den­tial spokesper­son Harry Roque de­fended his boss, say­ing he “can only choose among nom­i­nees of the Ju­di­cial and Bar Coun­cil.”

While main­tain­ing that “any­one could be app­pointed in our gov­ern­ment,” Roque ad­mit­ted that he did not have any idea why the Pres­i­dent would is­sue such a state­ment, and that he would have “to clar­ify [ it] with him.”

“A woman can qual­ify,” Se­nate Pres­i­dent Aquilino Pimentel III said, adding that Pres­i­dent Duterte could im­pose his “per­sonal sub­jec­tive re­quire­ments” when it comes to the char­ac­ter of his ap­pointee.

But we should “stick to the ba­sic re­quire­ments un­der the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Pimentel said.

The Con­sti­tu­tion states that the Om­buds­man must be a nat­u­ral-born ci­ti­zen of the Philip­pines, at least 40 years old at the time of ap­point­ment, of rec­og­nized pro­bity and in­de­pen­dence, a mem­ber of the Philip­pine Bar, and must not have been a can­di­date for any elec- tive of­fice in the im­me­di­ately pre­ced­ing elec­tion.

The Om­buds­man should have been a judge as well or has en­gaged in the prac­tice of law in the Philip­pines for at least 10 years.

Pres­i­dent Duterte’s con­stant swear­ing and rude sex­ist re­marks have been a mag­net for crit­i­cism, for which he apol­o­gized dur­ing a gather­ing of prin­ci­pals in Davao City early this month.

“If you can­not un­der­stand me or make al­lowances for my habit, please for­give me,” he said.

His mother, Mr. Duterte said, had a lot to do with shap­ing his char­ac­ter be­cause she used to pun­ish him for the slight­est mis­deed.

“If Soledad [were] alive to­day, I could sue her for child abuse. My mother was worst when an­gry. [She’d hit me] with any­thing she laid her hands on,” the Pres­i­dent said.

“But any­way, I love my mother so much. You know why? Be­cause she was the only per­son who kept faith in me,” he added.

Leila de Lima

Agnes Cal­la­mard

Con­chita Car­pio Mo­rales

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