Malacañang denies discrimination vs women in government

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday, May 17, denied that the administration is discriminating against women, as President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for a controversial remark against appointing a woman as the next ombudsman. 

Duterte on Wednesday evening, May 16, said he was ruling out politicians – and "most especially women" – as the successor of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales who is set to retire on July 26.

Responding to questions, Roque said in a news briefing on Thursday said he will clarify with Duterte if he was referring to the next Ombudsman or the next Chief Justice. He was then asked about Malacañang's stand on hiring women in government. 

"Unang-una po gaya ng sabi ko, I will clarify kung sinabi nga talaga ng Presidente 'yon. Pero sa aking pagkakaalam po, wala naman pong diskirminasyon sa kababaihan. Kahit sino po, pupuwedeng ma-appoint sa ating gobyerno," Roque said.

(First of all, as I said, I will clarify if the President really said that. But as far as I know, there's no discrimination against women. Anyone can be appointed in our government.)

After Duterte made his comments on Wednesday, critics called him out for misogyny – an accusation hurled at "The Punisher" in the past. (READ: From 'fragrant' Filipinas to shooting vaginas: Duterte's top 6 sexist remarks)

A reporter asked Roque on Thursday, "Whether it's the Ombudsman post or the Chief Justice post, why is there discrimination against women?"

Roque said, "Hindi naman po siguro discrimination 'yan pero as I said, tatanungin ko po kung anong intensyon ni Presidente, kung talagang sinabi niya 'yon (I don't think that's discrimination, but as I said, I will ask what the real intention of the President was, if he really said that)." –

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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