Ex-mayor and Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte faced strong criticisms over making disrespectful remarks about a murdered Australian rape victim. The candidate was shown joking about the incident to his followers at a rally in a YouTube video over the weekend.
Duterte recounted his experience as the local mayor at the time of the 1989 riots, during which a visiting Australian missionary was raped and killed after she was taken hostage. The candidate said that the prisoners waited in queues to rape her and that it was a “waste” because he “should have been the first” as the mayor.
“They raped all of the women … There was this Australian lay minister … when they took them out … I saw her face and I thought, ‘Son of a bitch. What a pity … they raped her, they all lined up,” the ABC quoted Duterte as telling a crowd of jeering supporters at a campaign rally in the video. “I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought the mayor should have been first.”
The YouTube video clip showing the presidential candidate joking about the incident to a crowd of laughing followers was circulated over the social media and stoked outrage among women rights groups and other politicians. Critics said that the comments prove that Duterte is not suitable for the office of the president but his supporters dismissed it as a joke, the BBC reported.
“You are a crazy maniac who doesn’t respect women and doesn’t deserve to be president,” said a rival presidential candidate and current Vice-President of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay. His remarks were also severely condemned Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson, who described them as “a disgusting endorsement of sexual violence.”
However, the former mayor said he is not sorry for his remarks and but apologised for his “gutter language.”