MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday, July 19, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to be more considerate regarding statements that may pave the way for more discrimination.
“We urge the President to be more circumspect in his statements, especially with how women are framed, in public conversations,” it said in a statement. “It runs counter to the interest of the common good and when left unchecked, such jokes perpetuate discrimination and inequality.”
Duterte, before Filipino diplomats in Davao City on Friday, July 14, said he would congratulate a rapist who could carry out the crime even knowing he would die.
"What I don't like are kids (being raped). You can mess with, maybe Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die," he said.
Coming from most powerful person in PH
This came not long after he got widely criticized over a rape joke he delivered before military troops in Iligan City during the height of the Marawi clashes.
CHR, however, said that statements like this inciting violence against women are still grounds for concern considering that the remark was uttered by “someone who holds the most powerful position in the country. “
“Even in the context of a joke, the statement is a step-back to the advancement of human rights, particularly for women,” it said.
“What the remark does is to normalize the perspective of women as objects of ridicule, as well as the prejudice against women, which we should all address instead of tolerate.”
Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.