MANILA, Philippines – “It’s time to get angry. Really angry,” Senator Leila de Lima said in a statement released on Monday, December 31, calling out President Rodrigo Duterte for his “despicable speech” during the distribution of land ownership certificates to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Kidapawan City, Cotabato.
Duterte made a shocking remark last Saturday before a huge crowd, where he openly admitted to molesting his family’s maid as a teenager.
In that speech, the President also lambasted the Catholic Church anew, berating the fictional Padre Damaso in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and the American priest arrested in Biliran for committing abuses against women and children. (READ: Duterte urged to resign after 'disgusting' confession)
“Ang pinakanakasusuklam sa lahat marahil ay alam ng buong sambayanang Pilipino na totoong ginawa n'ya ang mga karumaldumal niyang kinwento sa isang taong walang kalaban-laban,” De Lima said. (The most despicable thing of all is probably how Filipinos know that what he did to the defenseless maid was true.)
The embattled senator went on to “shame” those who condone and tolerate Duterte’s tirades, including members of San Beda who “glorified infamy” by awarding the president.
Female advocacy channel #EveryWoman also condemned the act – as well as the continued deaths brought by extrajudicial killings – comparing the maid to the manger scene.
“Rodrigo Duterte caps the year with a tale as old as time: of man’s inhumanity to woman, of sexual violence so commonplace and yet so stunning,” the statement read.
“EveryWoman says NOT ANYMORE. Standing at the crux of class and gender, the housemaid represents the last, the least and the lost of EveryWoman. And it is for her, most especially, that the Babe in the manger was born,” it added.
Senator De Lima urged Filipinos to work in solidarity to “stand strong and united to destroy this evil.” She also called on Filipinos to increase efforts and step up the fight for human rights.
“I call on our fellow Filipinos, especially the youth, to lead our nation to tangible changes this year—to put an end to violence and impunity through our unified call for justice, and our common commitment to protect human rights and value human lives,” she said in a New Year’s message.
The senator also reminded the nation to vote wisely and scrutinize leaders for the 2019 midterm elections.