MANILA, Philippines – Saying it was "sarcasm," President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, February 26, defended his remark that he wants soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.
In a speech at the inauguration of the Armscor Shooting Range in Davao City, Duterte said the sarcasm was directed at female rebels who bear children while still with the New People's Army (NPA).
He recounted the story of a former NPA couple who surrendered and saw their 17-year-old son after a long time.
"Sabi ko, 'Kayong mga buang kayo, sali-sali kayo ng NPA tapos sige anak. Pabaril ko 'yang pekpek ninyo,'" Duterte said. (I said, "You crazy people. You join the NPA then bear children. I'll have your vaginas shot.")
"That was sort of a sarcasm," he said. "Sabi ko, 'Paanak-anak kayo tapos iwanan ninyo?'" (You'll bear children then you will just leave them behind?)
Duterte earlier said he had ordered soldiers not to kill female rebels but to shoot them in the vagina instead, to render them "useless."
Duterte drew flak for his remarks.
Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division said Duterte's statement "encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict which is a violation of international humanitarian law."
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.