Duterte told: ‘Rape a heinous crime, never a laughing matter’
Rape is a heinous crime, not a laughing matter.
A women’s rights group stressed this on Saturday after President Rodrigo Duterte joked about answering for the mistakes of soldiers, even if they commit rape thrice while martial rule is declared in Mindanao.
“Rape is a heinous crime, never a laughing matter. Rape by State security forces is even worse. It is a tool of the State to inflict violence, to humiliate and to subjugate women into silence and submission,” Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women) said in a statement.
“It is a tool of the State to terrorize women, our children and families, our communities. It is a tool of war against women human rights defenders who fight back against State repression, poverty, injustice and intervention. It has been in counter-insurgency manuals of the US and PH military, written or implied,” it said.
The group said that in joking about rape, Duterte is encouraging violence in the military.
“President Duterte is preaching to a monstrous choir. He encouraged a known fascist institution, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to do exactly what it has been doing. Women, especially the poor who have been at the receiving end of such violence, are not laughing,” it said.
Speaking before soldiers in Iligan City on Friday, Duterte assured the troops that he will be responsible for the consequences and ramifications of martial law, even if it includes rape by unscrupulous military personnel.
“Trabaho lang kayo. Ako na bahala. Ako na magpakulong sa inyo. Kapag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin ‘yun. ‘Pag nag-asawa ka ng pang-apat, bugbugin ka (Just do your job. I will take care of you. I will go to jail for you. If you happen to rape three, I will own up to it. If you marry four, you will beaten),” Duterte said.
This was not the first time Duterte cracked a joke about rape in a public speech.
During a campaign rally in April last year, Duterte, then a presidential candidate, narrated the 1989 rape incident involving an Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill in Davao.
He said: “P***** i**, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape? Oo, isa rin ‘yun . Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang.”
(Son of a b****, what a waste. I was thinking that they raped her and lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first, what a waste.)
The group noted that even during the martial law of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, countless incidents of rape by military, paramilitary and police officers have been documented.
Meanwhile during the Aquino administration, 12 rape cases by military personnel were monitored by the progressive human rights group Karapatan.
“Most perpetrators, if not all, have not been prosecuted, much less punished for these acts that violate human dignity, despite laws criminalizing rape, the Magna Carta of Women, and international instruments protecting women’s rights,” it said.
“Many women are brave enough to tell their stories, despite the wave of social biases, sexism, stigma and discrimination. But many more are not encouraged by the impunity that exists,” the group added.
Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao after an intense firefight between government forces and members of the terror Maute group in Marawi City.
A total of 44 persons, including policemen, soldiers and civilians, have died since the clash started last Tuesday.