PRESIDENTIAL candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte relented Tuesday and apologized for saying he was furious at inmates who had raped an attractive Australian missionary in 1989 because they beat him to it—even as his own daughter Inday Sara said that she had been raped, too.
“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’s statement read. This was in contrast to a defiant statement Monday in which he refused to apologize and urged women’s groups and Catholics who were outraged by his remarks
not to vote for him. On the other hand, Duterte said he would not apologize for actions he has taken to protect the people, “especially the weak and defenseless, from crime.” “I know what it can do to the victims and their families. The anguish and pain they cause. The trauma that can’t be erased. I have witnessed these myself numerous times,” he said.
“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. And sadly, government has failed to protect them,” he added.
Duterte’s daughter said she too, was a victim of rape years ago at the hands of a priest, but her parents did not know about it. As a rape victim, she added, she was not offended by her father’s remarks, which were widely denounced by women, his opponents, critics, the Catholic Church and the Australian ambassador to the Philippines.
Duterte also turned his apology into a pitch for his presidency, one day after he said he didn’t care if he won or lost. “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,” Duterte said. “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.” The mayor’s camp also defended him against attacks based on his failed marriage.
“What happened to the marriage of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte and former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, does not reflect Duterte’s impressive record as a public servant,” Duterte’s spokesman Peter Laviña said.
“Reports said Duterte will be painted as psychologically incapacitated, impulsive, selfish, and someone who makes decisions without remorse,” the Duterte camp’s statement read.
But as a lawyer and a public servant, the Davao City mayor has definitely not failed, the younger Duterte said.
“Psychological incapacitated in a marriage does not reflect the character of a person outside the marriage,” she said. “He’s impulsive? He’s selfish? Does his track record in governance, as a public servant, show that he is impulsive or selfish? They do not,” she added.
“The court may have used these as grounds for the annulment of the marriage, but the court did not say that he is unfit to become a leader,” she said. “The court said my parents are unfit to be together in a marriage, but it did not say that my father is unfit to become our leader.”
Despite the apology, the administration camp continued to criticize Duterte, saying his antagonistic remarks to the Australian ambassador about his rape remark could damage relations with an ally.
Earlier, he had offended the Mexican ambassador by joking that there was no reason to visit Mexico with all its drug-related crimes.
“Mayor Duterte has now insulted two countries. These countries are our friends who accept our OFWs, joined us in making a stand against the theft of our territory, and help us in improving our economy,” said Barry Gutierrez, spokesman for administration candidate Manuel Roxas II.
“Is this the president we want? How will he protect our OFWs if these countries are mad at him?” Gutierrez said.
Responding to criticism from Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, Duterte told the envoy to stay out of local politics.
On Tuesday, students and alumni of Miriam College joined various women’s groups in urging people not to vote for Duterte.
At a news conference, Angelica Samson, Miriam’s student council president, said she was not endorsing any presidential candidate, but said she would never back Duterte as a “woman and human being.”
“Utang na loob at labas, never vote for Duterte. We do not deserve Duterte. We deserve more than this. I am appealing to all your morality not only as a woman, but also as a human being. I am appealing to your conscience,” she told the forum of “Abusado sa Kababaihan, Abusado sa Kapangyarihan #RapeIsNotAJoke.”
Sister Mary Jane Mananzal of Miriam College said a Duterte presidency would be a “nightmare,” saying the mayor had “no decency at all to be president.” With John Paolo Bencito
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