Roque on De Lima preferring AFP custody: 'Dahil maraming lalaki?'

'OUT OF LINE.' Kabayan Representative Harry Roque apologizes for a statement he made against Senator Leila de Lima.

Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Kabayan Representative Harry Roque uttered another sexist remark against Senator Leila de Lima, then apparently realized his mistake a couple of hours later.

Roque asked why De Lima, who is facing multiple drug complaints, prefers to be detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters instead of Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police (PNP).  

"Tama na 'yung practice na 'yung akusado namimili ng detention facility… Bakit niya gusto ma-detain sa Armed Forces of the Philippines? Dahil ba madaming lalaki do'n?" asked Roque in a press conference on Wednesday, February 22.

(Let's put a stop to the practice of the accused choosing his or her detention facility... Why does she want to be detained at the Armed Forces of the Philippines? Is it because there are many men there?) 

"Siya na nagsabi Armed Forces of the Philippines e samantalang 'yung separate detention [facility] for women [in Camp Crame ay] puro babae kasi."

(She is the one who said Armed Forces of the Philippines, because the separate detention facility for women in Camp Crame is filled with women.)

'Out of line'

Two hours after the press conference, Roque apologized for being "out of line."

"I apologize to Senator De Lima for what I said; I was out of line. It was an ill attempt at humor that was inexcusable," he said.

"I do maintain, however, that the powerful should not be allowed to choose where they will be detained. That violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution."

Roque had gotten into a conflict with his own party after he asked De Lima's former lover and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan sexually laden questions during a House hearing on the narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.

This led to Kabayan probing Roque in December 2016. The Board of Trustees then moved to oust him as their congressman at the House of Representatives. (READ: No, Kabayan, you can't just kick out Harry Roque)

Roque and his party mate Representative Ron Salo are now locked in a bitter legal battle, with both legislators filing one case after another.

Roque recently announced that Kabayan held a Special Party Congress on February 11, where it decided to remove Salo as congressman. Roque already wrote a letter to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, but the latter has yet to decide on the matter. –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.