International media should move on from Duterte’s rape joke and focus on the hard tasks ahead

Australian morning show Sunrise featured a segment on presumptive Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss his win in the recent presidential elections. The show had an Australian political analyst named Dr Keith Suter as guest who speculated on what a Duterte President would be like. Even before he was introduced, the two hosts of the show already had their grim faces on; meaning, they already harbored their preconceived notions about Duterte that weren’t very positive. This is most likely a result of the negative publicity Duterte got from local and other international media sites in the lead up to the presidential elections.

As usual they were comparing Duterte again with outspoken U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump and even went on to say that Duterte makes Trump look like the Pope. They think that Duterte is worse than Trump, which I think is an incorrect assessment. Political analyst Suter, however, echoed their sentiments by saying that Australians should be worried about a Duterte Presidency based on Duterte’s previous statements about being in favor of gang raping a nun and telling the Australian Ambassador to shut up after she spoke out against Duterte’s rape “joke”.

While I was one of those people who disapproved of Duterte’s remarks in reference to the Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill who was taken as hostage, gang raped and killed by inmates from a detention center in Davao City in 1989, I have to say that the political analyst was wrong in his interpretation. When Duterte said “The Mayor should have been the first”, he didn’t mean that he approved of gang rape. This was quite evident in his next move during the standoff, which, according to his own narration, was to shoot the inmates. Obviously, Duterte found the actions of the convicts despicable enough to sentence them to their own deaths right there and then.

Unfortunately, Duterte’s remark about Hamill will haunt him for the rest of his term. It is not surprising that members of the international community from progressive countries such as Australia were shocked by his rape remarks. Even some Filipinos were wondering why sex would enter Duterte’s mind in the middle of a violent standoff. But it could all be a bad mix of cultural nuances and foolish bravado during a testosterone-fuelled encounter.

As a woman, it is indeed hard to defend what Duterte said. But we all have to deal with the fact that he will represent the Philippines to the world and we don’t want the international community to think that Filipinos just voted a leader who has a fetish for gang rape. I do believe the international community’s impression of Duterte is wrong, which is why I am compelled to try and make sense of his remarks.

Why do I think their impressions are wrong? Because Duterte has a daughter and granddaughter of his own. He showcased them in his last campaign sortie. I don’t think he would want them to go through what the Australian missionary did. He is also tough on crime including rape. He’s even earned the nickname “The Punisher” for it.

A male friend of mine gave his own perspective on Duterte’s remarks. He said that Duterte probably meant that he thought it was a shame that such a beautiful woman was violated and that he probably wished that she could have been his girlfriend instead – that if she was his and taken care of her, she would not have ended in such a bad way. This interpretation gives Duterte’s  “rape” remark a romantic light. Duterte may have wanted to say that he acted like Maximus Decimus Meridius after seeing his wife and son murdered. Of course I’m just guessing.

At the end of the day, we can only speculate on what Duterte meant because, being mutilingual, he may have been struggling to find the right words to describe how he felt at that time. And now we are struggling to find an excuse for what he said. We can only hope that the international community will stop focusing on his remark and focus on how he will deal with the hard task of fixing the problems left behind by the outgoing administration under President Benigno Simeon Aquino. After all, a lot of Filipinos from the A and B crowd voted for Duterte. They wouldn’t have picked him if he was into gang rape, you would think. In other words, the international community should trust the Filipino people’s choice for a change particularly since Duterte did not just get sympathy votes the way BS Aquino did in 2010.

The Australian political analyst did get some things right about Philippine politics. That in the last 30 years after the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr was ousted, the Philippines has been led by people from same thin ruling elite who are just taking turns running the country. Millions of people are missing out on the wealth that is being generated because only a few benefit from the country’s economic growth. Suter was correct in saying that Duterte is the result of the voters’ anger that has been brewing since Filipinos realized that BS Aquino is part of the Philippines’ problem and that he is only looking out for his own personal interests and that of his allies.

Foreign political analysts fail to figure out President Rodrigo Duterte.
Foreign political analysts fail to figure out President Rodrigo Duterte.
It remains to be seen if Duterte can live up to the people’s expectations. Like Suter said, he is also part of the ruling class that people have started to hate. The only difference is, he doesn’t act like one of them.

Will Duterte be able to distribute the wealth and create a bigger middle class in Philippine society? It will take drastic reforms to do that. Duterte already said that he would open the economy to foreign investors. Members of the Philippine oligarchy who own most of the businesses that provide services and products including the supply of water, electricity and Internet access have been blocking moves to allow 100 percent foreign ownership to avoid competition for years. Filipinos have to live with bad products and services due to that lack of alternatives.

Duterte is also going to push for federalism. Being from Davao, he knows that the current centralized government neglects areas that are too far from Imperial Manila. A federal form of government that divides power between a strong national government and smaller local governments could be the solution to the full development of provinces that are currently at the mercy of the national government for funding. 

A lot of Filipinos are also hoping that Duterte would shift the country’s political system to a parliamentary form of government. This could mean that the tradition of choosing from the same types of bozos during elections would end since people will be choosing based on political parties and not personalities.

It would be wise for international political analysts to understand the way local politics work before they come up with negative conclusions about Filipino politicians. After all, most of them were all praises for BS Aquino when he started. They were all beholden to his name and taken by his promise to get rid of corruption only to end up as a disappointment in the end. In other words, foreign observers got it wrong before in their analysis of BS Aquino and, therefore, they could be wrong about Duterte too.

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Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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28 Comments on "International media should move on from Duterte’s rape joke and focus on the hard tasks ahead"

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andrew
Guest

good watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmGueIli7vc

with karen Davila

andrew
Guest
vagoneto rieles
Guest
To Hilda: “Unfortunately, Duterte’s remark about Hamill will haunt him for the rest of his term.” This is probably the only truth in your article.. the rest being conjecture, hope and deodorant. Everybody knows, possibly with your exception, that the man made a ‘boner’ of a quip which he did not expect to have any kind of ‘shelf life’. He was wrong and is now simply ‘brazening’ his way through the flak; and his term hasn’t even started. Without a doubt, Mr Duterte won because he stood out as a choice unlike the others who simply mirrored the same old… Read more »
321Hyden007Toro9999.999
Guest
321Hyden007Toro9999.999
Pres. Duterte is not even featured and talked to, in American media. Not the way, the American media featured much, about Cory Aquino. Can you see the bias of the American media now? If , it is not for their interest; a clueless housewife, is featured as a heroine; and hope of the Filipinos. Americans refused to see, that Cory Aquino was a Feudal Oligarch… Those Australians, should let things go. Move on, beyond the “rape comment”, of then Mayor Duterte. We, in the Philippines, have much problems to solve, other than indulge in such useless, debate of who said… Read more »
andrew
Guest

they were gunned down. and buried in a hole as The Punisher ordered. “no separate burial for the fools.”.

R. Atencia
Guest

The fact that Mayor Duterte won the presidential race absolves him of those nasty jokes which he uttered during the campaign that has been misinterpreted by some. It’s time to move on unless a person could not accept that a person could also make mistakes or shall we say been misintepreted.

333Hyden007Toro9999.99
Guest
333Hyden007Toro9999.99

For the Renewable Energy, if Pres. Duterte and Sen. Marcos are interested. They can contact the:

Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA).

Offices at:

7558 Deer Road ,
Custer, Wisconsin 54423
U.S.A.
Tel. no. (715) 592-6595

Or:
1754 University Ave. West
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104
U.S.A.

Or:
3628 W. Pierce St.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
53215 U.S.A.

Website:
http://www.midwestrenew.org.

They will have an Annual Energy Fair, this : June 17-19, 2016
at: Custer, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

All regarding advanced Renewable Energy Equipment and advancements, will be highlighted in the Annual Energy Fair.

You may see, Hyden Toro, there …

Sick_Amore
Guest
Ok. I think I get now what your friend and Add is trying to say in his article about Digong’s rape remark. Watching the video again, the people in the background laughing on cue with the rape joke put it in a bad light. Digong wasn’t laughing when he said that. But it didn’t help that Digong wasn’t able to clarify what he meant and it’s a common joke for perverted Pinoy to say “sana ako muna ang nauna”. It is something men would say out of frustration on missing out on beautiful women but only with people who understand… Read more »
Red
Guest
This reminds me of the heavy negative media attention given to Putin (Russian President) by the western media. I dunno if you guys remember but Putin had an election cheating scandal when he was elected a couple of years ago. Since then, the western media, particularly US media, made it seem like Putin is an awful person and an awful president. But upon talking to an actual Russian, it turns out that Russians themselves think Putin is the greatest president they’ve ever had. Even before the elections, I’ve already predicted that the same will happen to Digong. He’ll get a… Read more »
vagoneto rieles
Guest

To Benign0..
“So tough luck mate. The only way Duterte will get away with this is if he proves that he is not what the foreign media paint him to be through solid achievement.”..Thanks, my sentiments precisely; as I had so written earlier. We seem to have our lines crossed somehow. I think I’ll give it a rest for a bit.

Dave
Guest

Switch the nationalities and I’m sure Filipinos would be quick to ‘move on.’

Jim DiGriz
Guest

When ever someone speculates it usually translates to not knowing shit. The word analyst has “anal” in it.

Yeah, Dr. Keith Sucker!

Walter P. Komarnicki
Guest

then again, the way media bias works in Australia would be, for instance, how much space and time is spent on, say, Australian seaman’s unions helping out Filipino seamen aboard foreign vessels whose wages are either withheld or not paid to get justice, or foreign students or even teenagers being underpaid, as with the recent 7-11 convenience store scandal there where systematic underpayment of many workers was uncovered…

Jack Lin
Guest
Just on this issue: Ilda: “This was quite evident in his next move DURING THE STAND OFF, which, ACCORDING TO HIS OWN NARRATION, was TO SHOOT THE INMATES. Obviously, Duterte found the actions of the convicts despicable enough to sentence them to their own deaths RIGHT THERE AND THEN.” It’s interesting to note that No GRP Writer decided to write an article – re the above incident (1989 Davao Hostage Crisis) in relation to Mr. Duterte’s unapolegetic rape joke remark against the Australian missionary – and let that angle of the issue just pass, universally ignored even, when that was… Read more »
0nd0y
Guest

its hard to square a circle

Niall R
Guest
In line with the title of this site,I will inject an overseas viewpoint.Duterte has received international media coverage because he is current,and provides good copy.That he appears a crude,foul-mouthed vigilante who insults regional allies while his country has a dispute with the regional 800 lb gorilla makes him look a loose cannon.What would be his response if the chief exec of Hong Kong SAR had made the same remark about the rape of a Filipina OFW in Hong Kong? On a more local focus,the fact that he is from a provincial political family,rather than a national one,might mean that he… Read more »
zaxx
Member
First of all Du30 said it wasn’t a joke. So it was good it is in italics in the article. But since people keep referring to it as a regular joke, there already is a big disconnect in how people are reading this guy – it’s not just the perspective of foreign media but that of even local Pinoys themselves. We should rather call the rape-related remark a “metaphorical expression of disgust and rage using gutter language” (quite long but more accurate). This is in contrast to how a female praying mantis would cuss when she gets to copulate with… Read more »
xdarkx
Guest
“Will Duterte be able to distribute the wealth and create a bigger middle class in Philippine society? It will take drastic reforms to do that. Duterte already said that he would open the economy to foreign investors. Members of the Philippine oligarchy who own most of the businesses that provide services and products including the supply of water, electricity and Internet access have been blocking moves to allow 100 percent foreign ownership to avoid competition for years. Filipinos have to live with bad products and services due to that lack of alternatives.” – Yes, don’t just distribute the wealth; make… Read more »
333Hyden007Toro9999.99
Guest
333Hyden007Toro9999.99

Pres. Duterte, must level the playing fields, for the sake of most Filipinos…the business fields are mostly in favor of those Aquino’s Feudal Oligarchs.

Presidente Emilio
Guest
I’ll say it again, zaxx. Opening the government to the Reds is a double-edged sword. Yes, they might put an end to the hacienda system, but also to the entire Philippines as a democratic state, if they’re left unchecked. There’s also the possibility of them implementing their ridiculous social policies that may do massive damage to the economy. Imagine KMU getting a free hand in infiltrating and sabotaging private enterprises (like they’ve done in years) under the pathetic pretext of “protecting workers’ welfare”. Some prominent communists-in-hiding like Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares (good thing he didn’t win last election) are… Read more »
zaxx
Member

Well that’s where the great balancing act of Du30 comes in – to please the people, the Reds, the Moros, the oligarchs, the foreign investors… truly a show worth watching.

I don’t really care if the house of cards suddenly comes crashing down. The point is – we tried a different experiment. If it fails, we can check that off and proceed with the next.

It’s more fun in the Philippines – esp. under Du30.

Presidente Emilio
Guest

I just hope that if Duterte’s “experiment” fails, it won’t cost too much lives. Otherwise, there won’t be a chance for another experiment.

d_forsaken
Guest

They can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or they can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.

Dolly Modo Ridings
Guest
Rubbish comments you did not even know President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.. Your conclusion just depends on the media in the Philippines which paid by rich politician and publish Rody Duterte as bad guy.. Dig more and research Davao City where he ruled for morethan 20 years…The Dr on the left says the reason why Duterte was elected is because a hundred million Filipinos live in poverty; and that there is no middle class electorate. It really makes all the more sense why President Duterte told their delegates to shut up. No, a hundred million Filipinos do not live in poverty,… Read more »