Detained senator slams Duterte's 'misogynistic' remarks

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Detained Senator Leila de Lima said President Rodrigo Duterte’s brand of humor continues to “offend” women and should “never be tolerated.”

Senator Leila de Lima slammed President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday for “regarding women as a commodity” after he promised soldiers fighting in Marawi City a free trip to Hong Kong with their partner, a spouse or any actress or starlet of their choice.

 “It wasn’t the first time he made women a subject of his foul statements. Duterte likes to feed his deep-seated machismo by showing disrespect to the other sex, and this commodification of women should stop now,” de Lima said in a statement.

The senator said Duterte’s brand of humor continues to “offend” women and should “never be tolerated.”

During Duterte’s second visit to war-torn Marawi City on Aug. 4, he said rewards await soldiers once the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group is contained and defeated.

 “The valor [awardees], these tough ones [will get trips abroad]. Maybe Hong Kong; it will be free. If you want, bring a partner or spouse,” the president said in Filipino.

“If you don’t want to, tell us which actress you want and we’ll make a request,” he added.

De Lima said whether the President’s remark was intended as a joke or not, it should not be taken lightly because it “encourages possible military abuses involving women.”

“It is disturbing for anyone to suggest and look at women—celebrity or not—as an object of desire, let alone if it came from the most powerful person in the Philippines. Duterte is setting a bad example by making it appear that people in power, including his soldiers, can have control over women,” the senator said.

“Let me reiterate that we cannot allow misogynists in positions of power. How can we promote values and respect for women if our very own leaders are the first to violate these rights?” de Lima asked.

The senator noted how Duterte often “bombards his language with man-on-the-street curses,” citing his rape jokes in the past.

She cited as example Duterte’s remark that soldiers can commit “rape with impunity” following his declaration of martial law in Mindanao last May.

Duterte, she said, was also criticized during the campaign period when he joked about an Australian missionary worker, who was taken hostage, raped and later murdered in Davao in 1989.