Duterte should stop making ‘rape jokes’ for the sake of the Filipino people

I think it is unfortunate that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte cannot help himself and the people who support him win over his critics. In fact, he seems to be intentionally needling or provoking his detractors to react with more outrage. In a speech in front of the soldiers of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry (Magbalantay) Brigade of the Philippine Army in Iligan City, he assured his men that he will take full responsibility for their actions even if they commit rape:

 If you go down, I go down. But for this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible. Trabaho lang kayo. Ako na bahala. Ako na ang magpakulong sa inyo,” Duterte said.

Duterte then remarked in jest that he could even go to jail for the soldiers if they committed rape.

‘Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin iyon,” Duterte said.

Duterte’s remarks are disgusting. He could say later on that he was just joking and only meant to lighten the mood, but one simply doesn’t joke about rape in any given situation. Absolving soldiers under his command of rape or any atrocities even before they commit them is a recipe for disaster. Psychopaths within the ranks of the military could misconstrue it as a free pass to do exactly what some people are fearing they would do.

Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

It’s bad enough that there are already a lot of people, particularly from the Liberal Party and their supporters, who are against his declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao after a firefight broke out in Marawi City where elements of terrorist groups Maute and Abu Sayyaf have been wreaking havoc. Duterte is making things worse by making unnecessary remarks that could fuel further division in Philippine society.

I think it is high time Duterte realises that making light of sexual abuse, especially in a society like the Philippines — one that is still decades away from affording women equal rights and opportunities with men — does not help elevate women’s status and dignity. Another scenario that could result in his careless remarks is rogue soldiers could victimise children too.

We can only hope that members of the Philippine military received enough training to take Duterte’s remarks with a grain of salt. After all, they have a sworn duty to protect the public against atrocities. Duterte should have emphasised this instead.  He should have reiterated to the military and police that they should set an example for the rest of the community and not break the law. Being in uniform and carrying a weapon doesn’t mean they have a license to abuse other people.  

Giving the military a free pass to carry out abuse doesn’t even make any sense because he was supposed to have declared Martial Law to stop the Muslim rebels from carrying out abuse against the public.

We all know that Duterte doesn’t care what his critics think, but his remarks could also backfire on him. Soldiers and members of the police force who follow a code of ethics and set of standards could lose their respect for him and turn against him. If they were trained to respect and protect the public against atrocities, then they would also feel disgusted by Duterte’s attitude towards abuse.

I feel really disappointed that Duterte did not learn from the last time he came under fire for making a rape joke. At that time, I thought it was partly lost in translation and partly due to differences in nuances in language in considering that he is from Mindanao. Unfortunately, his recent “rape joke” cannot be regarded as a case of mere misinterpretation and I am beginning to think that he has a fetish for sexual abuse because he seems to bring it up whenever he finds an opportunity.

For the sake of the country and the people who support him, I wish Duterte could focus on the issues facing the nation in these trying times. He should refrain from making unnecessary remarks that could ruin whatever good his administration has accomplished so far. He should also stop giving his detractors ammunition to use against him. Duterte should do this for the people he claims to love.

14 Replies to “Duterte should stop making ‘rape jokes’ for the sake of the Filipino people”

  1. “We can only hope that members of the Philippine military received enough training to take Duterte’s remarks with a grain of salt. After all, they have a sworn duty to protect the public against atrocities.”

    In other words, the country is in now in deep sh-t.

    One irritating habit of the average Filipino is that he never takes ANYTHING seriously. That, it seems, includes our exceedingly average President.

    Martial Law is a very, very serious matter. It’s a tacit admission that the country is now a Failed State – that the normal channels of justice have not worked and cannot work to solve its immediate problems. And yet, it seems, everyone is expected to waltz along as usual, treating life as a huge joke, bahala na, instead of facing the reality of the situation: this is the country’s VERY LAST CHANCE to get it’s act together, and that chance is being squandered.

    Add another Filipino bad habit into the equation – passing the blame for one’s wrongdoing onto somebody else – and we’ve got a situation where the Army are not only unlikely to understand the gravity of the situation, but won’t care whether they screw up because their behavior will face no scrutiny.

  2. “We can only hope that members of the Philippine military received enough training to take Duterte’s remarks with a grain of salt. After all, they have a sworn duty to protect the public against atrocities.”

    If every words of atrocities be taken with a grain of salt, what is civilization? What kind of human? Insincerity, disrespect, threatening is what Duterte is setting as an example. What a load of shit.

  3. Duterte joking about rape is sick. This goes along, however, with other prominent males in government making comments that underline the culture. I am wondering if Duterte cares about the Filipino women who were used as sex slaves by the Japanese during WW2. With his flippant remarks I don’t know. Filipinos who attack the U.S. and Spain for their past imperial actions are hypocrites for promoting/condoning rape of Filipino women. Rape is the supreme example of imperialism and destruction of liberty, except it’s on a personal level.

    I am not surprised by the culture. All I can hope for is that young Filipino men change and adopt a better, proper respect for their Filipino sisters. Sometimes the enemy is within, and it’s not always the Americanos, Spaniards or Japanese.

    Human beings are animals and this is evidenced by their repugnant, primitive behavior, as well as biology. Actually, humans are often lower than the lowest savage animals because they have the capacity to reason – but choose to behave like evil goons.

  4. This is a problem of any leader. A leader must be aware, of what comes out of his mouth. Even, jokes can be interpreted that, he means it. A leader’s words can be twisted by his political enemies, and can be used against him.

    During the term of Aquino and Abaya; Aquino told the crowd, that : “magpasagasa kami ni Sec. Abaya, kung hindi ma kompleto ang projecto na ito”…of course, the project of extension of the MRT was not completed. The MRT system became worse. Aquino and Abaya were not run over by the MRT. They are still very much alive and kicking…

    The mainstream media, which were Aquino”s allies, buried the Aquino / Abaya’s lies, and the remarks were forgotten unto this day.

    Pres. Duterte, may be just joking, or having what we call : “usapang lalaki”…

    Of course we don’t want any rapist in the military. We want them to behave, as gentlemen, worthy to wear that military uniform !

  5. “Duterte should do this for the people he claims to love.” So, Ilda presumes that the President is a hypocrite. If I were her, I would request an audience with him and tell him frankly (harap harapan): “Mr. President, please stop your rape jokes. You’re not funny anymore.” I will not cudgel him with patronizing comments that everyone would ultimately use to pommel him with all kinds of unendearing remarks. Ilda should take along with her those netizens who feel that it’s about time that the President START WORKING and not gallivant. He is the President, for God’s sakes.!HE NEEDS TO “… focus on the issues facing the nation in these trying times.” Tutoo naman , Mr. President . MAGTRABAHO KA NAMAN. Sorry, Duterte pala, according to Ilda.

  6. Rape jokes are not noticed by most filipino men. It may be disgusting, but it is the norm. This statement may have hit liberals and women hard, but to our troops, most having been raised with little to no political correctness imbued in them, it means absolutely nothing more than a figure of speech.
    Face it, you cant expect a society that watches scantily clad women on noontime shows then go to church to mourn their faiths to be enlightened as you expect any westernized country to be.

  7. “…it means absolutely nothing more than a figure of speech.”

    On the contrary, it’s something more than just a figure of speech! As we can see, Ilda has spoken her heart and thoughts more about the ramifications and implications of the President’s rape joke. You also have to consider, that, whenever the President’s getting vulgar with his jokes and/or curses, it’s not only about his troops (or the hyphocritical VACC), the whole world gets to see that… especially on primetime!

    Although I think I know what you are trying to say, Antonio Contreras said it better in an MT article.

    He wrote:

    ““Green jokes” proliferate in the ordinary setting, some of which may be offensive to the sensibilities of some people, while others may see in them the redeeming function of providing an outlet by which people can detoxify their discourse of the serious challenges that they face.

    “Through sex jokes, ordinary people refer to sex not as exogenous and malicious, but in the spirit of youthful playfulness. These are told among friends. They only take on noxious meanings when said in a formal context, vis-à-vis the prudish and moralistic air of an elite setting, or when cracked by strangers.”

  8. If you beg to differ like you say, and recognize that poor values are the main reason why there is little progress in the Philippines, perhaps a more strongly worded conclusion than ‘he should refrain’ would be appropriate?

    I get it that you don’t like the former administration, but defending the indefensible as you seem prone to recently, just demonstrates the very poor value system you rail against.

    If you think duterte is still fit to be your leader, just come out and say it. But you should also confess that his values reflect yours, because without condemning him wholeheartedly you are part of the problem.

    Get real indeed…

  9. Yet another imbecilic remark from yet another disappointing ‘president’, and yet another disaster for our country. Many hoped we’d advance out of the medieval era, but it seems not in our lifetimes…

    1. By refusing to condemn, one might venture you are complicit in the problem. It’s a creeping undertone on this site that needs to stop. But hey, let the Filipino judge that. Condemnation would have started long ago in an educated electorate.

  10. Unfortunately the international community will equate Duterte to the Philippine people which is the worst part of this. How can anybody support this disgusting scum bag. Dear poor people of the islands what has he done for you, what will he do for you, absolutely nothing. Learn what he is really about and who control him.

    1. Such conyo thinking you have there. If you think the Yellows did better, then you’re delusional.

      Heck, I can now ask you the same thing, now with Leni Robredo. What has she done for you, what will she do for you, absolutely nothing. In short, you’re grasping on straws.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.