Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte said he regrets using the “gutter language” but would not apologise for being misinterpreted for the remarks he made on a murdered Australian rape victim in a video that was released over the weekend.
A video emerged on YouTube over the weekend that showed the presidential candidate recalling his experience as a local mayor during the 1989 prison riots at a recent rally. During that time, an Australian missionary visiting the jail at that time was taken hostage, raped, and killed.
Duterte, 71, told supporters at the rally that he was angry that a “beautiful” woman was murdered. He recounted that the inmates of the jail queued up to rape her, and said that it was a “waste” because as a mayor, he “should have been the first,” the Mail Online reported.
The candidate told reporters on Sunday that he will not apologise for his remarks, even if it costs him the presidency. “I said it in the heat of anger,” he said. “I’m sorry in general. I’m sorry to the Filipino people, it’s my style, it’s my mouth, I said it in anger — listen to the story behind it.”
He added that “It was not a joke. I said it in a narrative. I wasn’t smiling.”
The candidate, who was showed to be leading the race in a recent poll, is known for his disrespectful remarks and self-praises of sexual conquests. “You are a crazy maniac who doesn’t respect women and doesn’t deserve to be president,” the BBC quoted Vice-President and presidential candidate Jejomar Binay as saying in a statement.
Grace Poe, who is seen as Duterte’s biggest contender in the presidential race said that “No one, whoever she is and whatever her looks may be, deserves to be raped and abused. Rape is a crime and no laughing matter.”
In 2015, he was described as the “death squad mayor” by the Human Rights Watch for his ways in dealing with the violent crimes in Davao.