Miss World Philippines

Can a woman with kids run for president? Roque pageant question sparks ire

Iya Gozum
Can a woman with kids run for president? Roque pageant question sparks ire

Presidential Spokesperson Herminio "Harry" Roque Jr. shares his remarks to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on August 24, 2021. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO


(1st UPDATE) In response, Shaila Rebortera of Cebu Province says modern women were both 'brave and strong' with the different choices they make

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stole the beauty queens’ thunder at the Miss World Philippines 2021 pageant on Sunday, October 3, after asking an “outdated” question during the Q&A segment. 

Picked by Candidate no. 6, Shaila Rebortera of Cebu Province, Roque asked if it was okay for a woman to run for president if this meant sacrificing time with her kids.

Roque asked, “The frontrunner in all the surveys for the post of president is a woman. If she were to ask you, should she run for president even if her children are very young, what advice would you give her?” 

The question drew flak online, with many calling it a “misogynistic” remark in an otherwise “empowering event for women.”

Twitter user @mhiatabingo said women excelling in careers and taking good care of their families were not mutually exclusive. 


Here are other reactions to Roque:

In response, Rebortera said that modern women were both “brave and strong” when it comes to the different choices they make. 

The candidate emphasized that while other women find fulfilment in serving their families, others find contentment in pursuing careers. 

“Other women are strong and brave because they sacrifice their career for their family,” Rebortera told Roque.

“And if our candidate would like to pursue becoming a president despite sacrificing time for their family, in exchange of serving the Filipino people, then I would definitely support that.”

Despite the backlash to his question, Roque begged to differ, saying his were critics were overreacting.

“That’s a valid question,” said Roque during a press briefing on Monday, October 4. “If you disagree, you are entitled to your opinion. Mag-judge din kayo (Go be a judge yourself),” the spokesperson added.

To date, only one man has filed for his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president for the 2022 elections. Senator Manny Pacquiao filed his COC last Friday, October 1. Others who have formally declared their intention to run for president are Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno and Senator Ping Lacson. 

The two main women being eyed for the position are opposition leader Vice President Leni Robredo and Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte. Robredo has yet to make a decision, while Duterte has filed her COC to run for her third term as mayor.

The schedule for COC filing will run until Friday, October 8. Rappler.com 

Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum is a member of Rappler's digital communications team. When off the grid, she’s either a hundred/thousand meters above sea level – or dreaming about it. You may email her at iya.gozum@rappler.com.