MANILA, Philippines – After one year and 8 months, it has become clear that even the presidency will not convince Rodrigo Duterte to steer clear of violent and degrading language in reference to women.
Rappler compiles Duterte's most controversial sexist remarks since the presidential campaign, which show that becoming the father of the nation has not stopped the Philippine leader from using misogynistic language in his public addresses.
‘Shoot communist rebels in the vagina’ | February 7, 2018
During a gathering with former New People’s Army members, Duterte joked that soldiers will be given a new order against female rebels.
“Order bag-o ni mayor. Di lang daw mo patyon. Pusilon lang mo sa bisong arong—’ Og wa na ma’y bisong, wa na ma’y silbi.”
(There’s a new order coming from Mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina, so that – if there is no vagina, it would be useless.)
‘Fragrant Filipinas’ | February 6, 2018
During the National Economic and Development Authority anniversary, Duterte said foreign women don’t attract him because they have a “queer” odor. This, he said, helps him stay “faithful” to his many Filipina women.
“Sa malayo, maganda, exotic eh. ‘Di mo nakikita pero paglapit mo, queer na ang amoy. No, no, no, no, no. Balik tayo sa kwarto…Faithful ako sa Filipina. Marami lang sila pero faithful ako. ‘Di naman kailangan isa lang. [laughter] Basta faithful ako sa Filipina. Mabango eh.”
(From afar, they are beautiful because they are exotic. You don’t sense it but once you’re near, their odor is queer. No, no, no, no. Let’s go back to the room….I’m faithful to the Filipina. There are many of them but I’m faithful. It doesn’t have to be just one woman. I’m faithful to the Filipina because they’re fragrant.)
'42 virgins as tourism come-on' | January 26, 2018
During a forum with Indian and Filipino businessmen in New Delhi, Duterte tried to make a pitch for Philippine tourism, taking off from the promise to jihadists that 72 virgins await them in heaven if they die as martyrs.
"The come-on is that if you die a martyr, you go to heaven with 42 virgins waiting for you. If I could just make it a come-on also for those who’d like to go to my country.”
‘Death to the ugly’ | January 25, 2017
Duterte poked fun at “ugly” victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda during the turnover of new homes to the storm’s survivors in Tacloban City.
“Tingin ako sa langit, sabi ko, ‘Lord sana ‘yung mga pangit lang ang namatay na. Ang magaganda huwag sana. Sabi ni Lord, ‘Okay lang.”
(I looked up to the sky and said, "Lord, I hope only the ugly died. I hope the beautiful ones did not. The Lord said, ‘That’s okay.’”)
‘Mayor should go first’ | April 12, 2016
The remark, uttered during a campaign sortie in Quezon City, centered on Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill and her death during a hostage-taking in the Davao penal colony. Duterte was mayor at the time and saw Hamill’s body after the shooting.
“Tiningnan ko yung mukha, 'tangina parang artista sa Amerika na maganda. Putangina, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin 'yun . Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang.”
(I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful American actress. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that's one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.)
‘Short-time only’ | November 29, 2015
In one of his first campaign sorties, Duterte spoke of how he saved money on his girlfriends. He refused one of his girlfriend’s request for a car of her own since he would only enjoy a “short time” with her.
“Tutal ano naman ang biyahe natin sa buhay nating dalawa? Sunduin kita doon sa boarding house mo, pasok tayo ng motel, short time lang naman.”
(I said, no more. What are the trips we take anyway? I just pick you up from your boarding house, we go inside a motel, it’s only ‘short time.’)
Malacañang has sought to appease public outrage over Duterte’s remarks by dismissing them as jokes not to be taken literally.
“Don’t take the President literally, but take him seriously,” is a well-used line from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a human rights lawyer who defended abused women prior to his political career. (READ: Duterte, the 'benevolent sexist'?)
Roque had even criticized angry feminists for being “OA” or over-acting and urged them to "just laugh" at Duterte's "funny" sexist jokes.
He had also asked the public not to be distracted by Duterte’s words but to look at his actions instead. The President’s ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to Kuwait is proof, said Roque, that he is “protecting the security, the dignity of our Filipina sisters.” (READ: Duterte, accused of sexism, vows to fight for women's rights)
Human rights and women’s groups have repeatedly pointed out that language counts for something.
Gabriela Representative Emmie De Jesus said Duterte’s “shoot women in vagina” remark “openly encourages violence against women” and “confirms himself as the most dangerous macho-fascist in the government right now.”
Human Rights Watch said the President violated international humanitarian law when he uttered such a statement.
“It encourages state forces to commit sexual violence during armed conflict which is a violation of international humanitarian law,” HRW Asia Division's Carlos Conde said.
For how long can Malacañang stick to its preferred defense of the President’s sexist language? – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.