Despite the criticisms he received for cracking sex jokes, Malacanang defended President Rodrigo Duterte's sexist remarks during his national address and claimed he was merely “lightening the mood” as the country was reeling from the effects of the recent typhoons.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said despite uttering some sex jokes, Duterte was merely channeling a Filipino trait to “lighten a problem” when he issued the sex jokes, adding these were part of his supposed “pro-feminist” policies.”
Vice President Leni Robredo slammed Duterte who joked about sex and womanizing amid the onslaught of typhoon “Ulysses.”
She told ANC she did not directly hear Duterte's jokes but said while the country was going through "something really serious," the government must "communicate how urgent a particular matter is."
“It is very important that the message we are giving of utmost urgency on things are really urgent," she said.
“If we pay attention to some other things, what we evoke or communicate gets wrong. What we are communicating [to the people] seems to be not that important to be taken seriously.”
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas also criticized Duterte's sex jokes.
"Imagine still having the audacity to blabber inappropriate jokes when people literally drowned and died due to the series of calamities," Brosas said.
“Instead of dropping sexist remarks, the government should be quickly providing emergency assistance. It should also apologize and explain its lack of preparedness and inadequate response tantamount to criminal neglect."
Before concluding his televised briefing on Saturday with some Cabinet and local officials in Camarines Sur, Duterte managed to poke fun at the sexual history of one of the officials of the province who happened to be his classmate in law school.
Roque said “that whole day, the President saw nothing else apart from disaster. Let's allow him to have a light moment. We Filipinos often tend to lighten up the situation.
“It’s a habit of Filipinos, although while we are experiencing these ordeals, he just tried to lighten up the problem.”
During the meeting with his Cabinet, Duterte said “a classmate in law school, a brother, spent most of his time [with women] until he got old. It really makes you old. Having too much women makes you old.”
The official, whose face was not shown on television, replied: "Congressman LRay said I was undersexed. Undersexed, so will you please make me a Secretary so I won't be undersexed anymore.
Laughter then followed among the officials in the briefing, including Senator Christopher Go, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, and Camarines Sur Rep. Villafuerte.
Duterte also jokingly suggested names for the coming typhoons, including the names of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolly Bautista in the list of coming typhoon’s names.
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