EVEN AFTER drawing flak for his rape joke, Davao City Mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte still has a strong hold on the presidency and can triumph in the May elections, department chairs from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) said.
UST Department of Economics Chair Emmanuel Lopez said people loved Duterte for his tough attitude and has always been “phenomenal” for his blatant remarks.
“When you talk about Duterte, he has always been phenomenal because of his straightforward comments. His outbursts are only reflections of what the Filipinos are feeling,” Lopez said in an interview.
Lopez, who was the former chair of the UST Department of Social Sciences, said Duterte’s remarks do not define his real personality and leadership skills.
However, Lopez noted that Duterte should not have joked about rape.
“Hindi maganda yung comment na yun, but it does not necessarily mean na yun ang personality ni Duterte,” Lopez said. “Exasperation niya yun on what is happening in the society. Katulad natin, kapag nagagalit tayo, kung ano ano ang nasasabi natin.”
Meanwhile, Augusto de Vianna, UST Department of History chair said Filipinos overreacted on Duterte’s comments, saying that Filipinos became too sensitive over the issue.
Filipinos want swift action and they believe Duterte can give it to them, Lopez said, explaining why Duterte has managed to keep his supporters.
In a video posted on YouTube, the Mayor was on stage talking about an Australian lay missionary who was raped and killed in a hostage incident in 1989 in a Davao prison.
“Napakaganda, dapat mayor ang mauna,” Duterte said, receiving criticism from the public, his political rivals and the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines.
Duterte has crossed the line
Students from UST slammed Duterte for “crossing the line” and showing disrespect towards women and rape victims.
Grace Esmaya, a member of the Student Teachers’ Association of UST, demanded respect and a sincere apology from Duterte.
“As a woman, it is not okay to hear a joke about rape from anyone. Duterte is allowed to express his opinion, but his jokes are too much. He needs to show respect,” Esmaya said, adding that the country needs a leader who has respect for everyone.
For Dayanara Cudal, the news editor of the Varsitarian, the official student publication of UST, Duterte’s rape joke is unforgivable.
“I will never forgive Duterte for what he said because nobody has the right or freedom to say something intensely disrespectful and downright vile. I will never forgive Duterte for even thinking that rape can be the subject of ridicule,” Cudal said.
Cudal said she lost respect for the “fearless” presidential aspirant after he made his “crass and tasteless rape remark.”
“It is Duterte’s brand to be the fearless, machismo, ladies man. But the topic of rape is dealt with such delicate care and sensitivity. [R]ape has claimed millions of people, both men and women alike, and these people live in the shadow of their past,” Cudal said.
In his defense, Duterte claims all 16 inmates behind the hostage taking were all killed, adding that he and his brother has killed four of them.
Duterte vowed that despite his dirty mouth, he would give the country a “clean government.”
In a statement released by Duterte’s camp on April 19, Duterte apologized for his joke, but remained unapologetic for the things he has done “to protect the country.”###