In his latest repugnant remarks about sexual assault, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly quipped that he might congratulate rapists for “having the balls” to commit a crime that’s potentially punishable by execution.
Speaking to Filipino diplomats on Friday in his hometown of Davao, where he served as mayor for a total of more than two decades, Duterte addressed the issue of drug-related crimes, including rape.
“What I don’t like are kids (being raped). You can mess with, maybe Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die,” Duterte said, according to translations by local media.
Duterte became president in late June 2016. Little more than a year later, his internationally condemned war on drugs has already resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings and mass human rights abuses.
The 72-year-old’s comments about rape are disturbing, but far from uncharacteristic.
While campaigning for the presidency in April 2016, Duterte made horrific remarks about an Australian missionary who was gang-raped and murdered during a 1989 prison riot in Davao, while he served as mayor.
“I saw her face and I thought: Son of a bitch. What a pity ... they raped her, they all lined up. I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first,” he said, later telling critics that his words were not meant as a joke and refusing to apologize.
In May, the president told his soldiers that he would let them get away with committing up to three rapes each. “Just do your job. I will take care of the rest. I will go to jail for you. If you rape three, I will admit it,” he said.
And when Duterte’s own daughter publicly announced last year that she was a victim of rape, he reportedly dismissed her claim by calling her a “drama queen.”