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Duterte penchant for making jokes? Get used to it, Aguirre tells critics

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 03:28 AM May 30, 2017
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre before the Congressional hearing and inquiry on illegal drug trade in National Bilibid Prison, October 10, 2016.NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. NIÑO JESUS ORBETA/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Get used to it.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday gave this rather flustering advice to those criticizing President Duterte for his penchant for making rape jokes.

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He also urged the public not to make a big fuss over the issue, saying “a joke is a joke.”

“We should get used to the President’s mouth. Let’s not blow it up,” Aguirre said in a press briefing.

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“Some say we should not joke about rape. But we should know when the President is stating a hyperbole. Do not capitalize on it,” he said in English and Filipino.

Instead of taking Mr. Duterte to task, Aguirre said it was important for people to “support what the President was doing” and his decision to place Mindanao under martial law.

The tough-talking President, who had previously drawn flak several times for making sexist remarks in public, again found himself in the crosshairs of netizens who lambasted him for telling soldiers in Iligan City on Friday that he would still support them if they raped up to three women while implementing martial law.

Injustice to soldiers

Vice President Leni Robredo called Mr. Duterte’s remarks “an injustice to our soldiers.”

“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 them the highest respect that they need,” Robredo told reporters.

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.”

Sen. Grace Poe said in a TV interview that “rape is never a funny joke and it should never [be] a joke.”

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“We’ve done so much in the past years to elevate the stature of women and our role in society and nothing should undermine that,” the senator said.

Poe said she realized the President cracked jokes depending on his audience. “So he feels that with the soldiers, it will be funny,” she said.

“But I think even soldiers now should learn what is acceptable and what is not,” she added. —WITH REPORTS FROM NIKKO DIZON AND MAILA AGER

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TAGS: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, Leni Robredo, Martial law, Philippine news updates, Rape Joke, Sen. Grace Poe
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