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Duterte attracts large crowd in Iloilo despite ‘rape joke’

Rappler.com
Duterte attracts large crowd in Iloilo despite ‘rape joke’
In Western Visayas, where Rodrigo Duterte campaigned Tuesday, rival Manuel Roxas II is overwhelmingly the top candidate in recent surveys

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte campaigns in Iloilo City, Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas’ bailiwick, Tuesday, April 19.

Iloilo has 1.35 million voters, making it the most vote-rich province in the region. 

Pia Ranada reports. – Rappler.com

On the day Rody Duterte issues an apology for his controversial remark on rape, he plunges into enemy territory.

Today he visits Iloilo City in Western Visayas, the bailiwick of Liberal Party presidential bet Mar Roxas.

Iloilo has 1.35 million voters, making it the most vote-rich province in the region. Fresh from a scandal, will Duterte’s tough rhetoric and sense of humor hold sway over voters here?

Duterte explains his rape remark in front of students and supporters in the University of the Philippines Visayas.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I narrate it I am not joking. I’m just telling a true incident and I jumped the gun on this explosive issue, to get the tape on my foul mouth. What joke? I was not waiting for laughter. Before, it was heat of anger so it was excusable. But to narrate it in slow motion, ‘this is what happened,’ I’m talking to you, it was probably offensive…Because every time I narrate it, somebody’s sensibility is hurt.

In the question and answer portion, he is asked about his anti-crime plan.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The police, I will double their salaries…the usual excuse is that it’s insufficient, it really is…How do you expect that policeman to survive with 2 or 3 children with that salary? They will resort to corruption.

This senior UP Visayas student has his own take on Duterte’s foul mouth.

UP VISAYAS STUDENT: For me, judgement on him is one-sided because the video spreading in the Internet, that is what people are basing their judgements on when that is not the whole story behind his speech.

He says his vote is still for Duterte.

UP VISAYAS STUDENT: So far I’m voting for Duterte not because of his personality but because of his platform in government and especially that he’s the only candidate that pushes for federalism.

Another student thinks differently.

RAPPLER: Did it affect your opinion of him?

UP VISAYAS STUDENT: Yes it did affect my opinion of him.

RAPPLER: Negatively or positively?

UP VISAYAS STUDENT: Negatively, because of that comment.

In a public rally, thousands of Ilonggos crowd a football field to show their support for Duterte.

It’s a show of force in a province led by Liberal Party members.

In Western Visayas, LP bet Roxas is overwhelmingly the candidate of choice, based on recent surveys.

No wonder Duterte refrains from insulting Roxas in his speech.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am in his country-home. I will not talk about him. 

But the crowd doesn’t seem to mind, even appearing to egg him on.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Roxas is a descendant of a great family. The problem is, Roxas can be a bank’s chief executive, finance. But on the level of people, to be eyeball-to-eyeball with the problems of the Philippines, damn, the Filipino is dead.

Amidst the crisis faced by his campaign, Duterte is in full form, jumping from funny to serious in the blink of an eye.

RODRIGO DUTERTE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was campaigning, I couldn’t concentrate because I kept looking at the beautiful women. I was shaking their hands while the car was moving. I was holding someone’s hand, when I saw she was beautiful, I didn’t let her go so the woman was walking like this. But you know, seriously now, this is the problem. This government has not done anything for the people.

Are the huge crowds in his rallies a sign that he can put his rape slur behind him?

Pia Ranada, Rappler, Iloilo City.

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