Leni hits Rody over rape joke
Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday took centerstage at a women’s forum by criticizing President Duterte’s remarks against women and promoting her advocacy for gender equality.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary and 23rd convention of the Federation of Asia-Pacific Women’s Association (Fapwa), Robredo underscored the challenges women faced in a world perceived as dominated by men.
“Just imagine, a quarter of men surveyed in six Asia-Pacific countries admitted to committing rape! That is how widespread it is. I am sure Senator Geronima would agree with me if I say that society should never blame widespread assault and rape on the presence of beautiful women, nor should rape even be considered a laughing matter,” she said.
Robredo paid tribute to Geronima Pecson, the country’s first woman senator and founder of Fapwa, who led the struggle for gender equality.
In her speech, the Vice President referred to the President’s statement last month in which he joked that the high rate of rape cases in his hometown Davao City was due to the big number of beautiful women there.
Davao’s beautiful women
“They say there are many rape cases in Davao. Well, for as long as there are many beautiful women, there will be many rape cases, too,” Mr. Duterte had said in a speech in Cebu.
Men should recognize their duty to respect women, the Vice President said.
“We, women—and men, too—should know this (duty) by heart. Men should make it their business to respect us,” she said.
All over the world, she said, there is a growing recognition of the value of women.
“Gone are the days when most occupations were dominated by men. We see a growing number of women in local governance, in legislation, in company boardrooms, and in the development world,” she said.
Robredo noted how in 1947, Pecson, as a senatorial candidate, was seen as unqualified and dismissed as a “Malacañang cook.”
In previous interviews, Mr. Duterte described Robredo as “incompetent” and one who could not qualify as his successor. He expressed preference for defeated vice presidential candidate, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., as his successor.
“[Yet] many say Senator Geronima was one of the greatest women this country has ever produced,” Robredo said.
She cited studies that showed that advancing women’s equality in Asia-Pacific countries could add $4.5 trillion to their collective annual gross domestic product by 2025.
“This is a clear sign that pursuing the goal of gender equality can unleash the economic potential of any country,” she said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.