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Duterte rape joke an ‘injustice’ to soldiers – Robredo

By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 07:24 PM May 29, 2017
Philippines Muslim Militants

Philippine Marines walk to the frontline in the continuing assaults to retake control of some areas of Marawi city Sunday, May 28, 2017 in southern Philippines. Philippine forces launched fresh airstrikes Sunday to drive out militants linked to the Islamic State group after days of fighting left corpses in the streets and hundreds of civilians begging for rescue from a besieged southern city. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday said the country’s soldiers deserve “support and the highest respect” at this time that they are fighting for the people such that President Duterte’s rape joke was an “injustice to them.”

“It is an injustice to our soldiers that what’s being implied is because it is martial law, they are already thinking, or that they have the license, to commit a crime as heinous as rape,” Robredo said in response to a question asking for her comment on the joke that the President made before troops last week.

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“It is not good to make a joke about rape because this is the time when our soldiers need our support. This is the time when we have to give our highest respect to them that they need,” the Vice President said.

Mr. Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao on May 23 as fighting erupted between the military and the Maute group in Marawi City where Abu Sayyaf terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon was supposedly holed up.

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On Friday, the President assured soldiers he will have their back if they were accused of human rights abuses while martial law was in place, saying they could rape up to three women and he would claim responsibility for the crime.

Mr. Duterte’s joke elicited uproar even from his own supporters.

“Rape is not a joke. Rape is a heinous crime. It is expected that everyone from the President to me to the village watches, we are expected to ensure that [rape] does not happen and we have to ensure that whoever commits this crime will be jailed,” Robredo said.

The President joking about rape “does not help” the current security situation, she added.

“This is the time to reassure our people who are now anxious that [the abuses] would not take place,” Robredo added.

Robredo was in Iligan City on Monday to visit the families temporarily staying at the Barangay Maria Cristina evacuation center, the soldiers who were wounded, as well as the wake of those who were killed in the fighting.

Robredo said the evacuees asked her how long they would have to stay in evacuation centers as many want to return home.

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“Of course, we couldn’t give an answer. The only thing I could say was we will make sure that government takes care of them,” Robredo said./ac

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TAGS: Leni Robredo, Marawi siege, Maute group, Philippine news updates, President Duterte, Rape Joke, Terrorism
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