Duterte apologizes, asks for chance to ‘protect women, children’
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday apologized to Filipinos for his remarks construed by many as making light of the rape and murder of an Australian missionary.
“I apologize to the Filipino people for my recent remarks in a rally. There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this horrible crime. Sometimes my mouth can get the better of me,” Duterte said in a statement sent to the media.
But Duterte insisted that he won’t apologize for “the things I’ve done to protect our people, especially the weak and defenseless, from crime.”
The tough-talking mayor was heavily criticized after his controversial remarks about the 1989 gang rape and murder of Australian missionary Jaqueline Hamill by prisoners inside the Davao City Police Office.
“They did it ahead of the mayor. Kill them all,” he said in Filipino during a rally in Quezon City on April 12.
The mayor refused to apologize after he was interviewed on Sunday, the same day his video went viral on social media.
“Do not make me apologize for something which I did not do. It’s a matter of honor… I said it in the heat of anger,” he said in an interview in Davao City.
In a statement on Tuesday, he said he knows that victims of rape suffer “trauma that can’t be erased.”
“I have witnessed these myself numerous times. This is why I am angry. I am angry because horrendous things like this continue to happen to our women and children all over our land,” he said.
He vowed to protect children and women if elected in the upcoming May elections, saying that the “government has failed to protect them.”
“If you will give me the chance to lead this country, I promise to all of you that I will protect our women, children and families from the horrors and disorder of crime. I will do this even if I lose my life, my honor and even the presidency,” he said.
He admitted that he is “a man of many flaws and contradictions.”
“My life is an open book. I am a man of many flaws and contradictions. But when it comes to securing the lives and future of our countrymen and women, you can trust me to do the right thing. I will fight for the people until my last breath,” he said. IDL
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