Oct 29, 2018

Anyone who refuses to acknowledge the connection between the President’s latest off-color remark about trading spit with a beautiful woman and a low-ranking police officer’s alleged rape a 15-year-old girl in exchange for her jailed parents’ release doesn’t get it.

A chief executive who constantly talks about disrespecting women in front of live audiences is definitely accountable for his irresponsible utterances.

His statements and actions are bound to embolden weak-minded individuals, whether male or female. Those prone to sick ideas or the influence of power can casually mention what Mr. Duterte says and does as their excuse.  “The President does/says it so why can’t I?”

PO1 Eduardo Valencia implied in his face-to-face encounter with National Capital Region Police Office chief Director Guillermo Eleazar following arrest he did not see why his supposed rape of a minor whose parents were accused of drug dealing was a big deal.

Besides, he has a family, Valencia pointed out. Which probably means he sired female minors bound to be embarrassed by the accusation against him? Or that he should not have been presented to media by his own colleagues?

Long story short, Valencia was objecting to the criminal and administrative cases that would be filed against him since soliciting sex from relatives in exchange for the release of suspects appears to be the norm in his work environment.

The culture of impunity within the Philippine National Police is in itself a separate story.  But it is an institution whose identity in the past two-and-a-half years has been greatly shaped by the chief executive who appoints its leaders.

Mr. Duterte’s nonchalant attitude toward women and crimes against them has obviously trickled down to the police hierarchy.

Remember this is the presidential candidate who casually mentioned being sorry for “not being the first” to rape an Australian missionary.

He also accused Sen. Leila de Lima of nymphomania after she investigated his human rights record as Davao City mayor. Then he ordered her detention for non-bailable drug-related charges despite the absence of strong evidence.

Mr. Duterte went on to advise soldiers they can shoot female rebels “in the vagina” as part of counter-insurgency measures and then forcibly kissed a married woman in the mouth in front of her husband and other OFWs during a visit to South Korea.

duterte rude remarks

Let’s not forget this is also the same public official who openly stares at Vice President Leni Robredo’s legs onstage at public events and once grabbed then agriculture undersecretary Berna Romulo-Puyat’s innocent hand as it lay on an armrest.

At the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City last Saturday, Mr. Duterte has taken disrespect to an entirely new low. First he taunted critics accusing him of corruption to spit on his face should they prove he has hidden wealth. But criticism from beautiful women would be treated differently, he stressed.

“If you are a beautiful woman and you spit on me, I will get your saliva,” the President said.

“If the woman kisses me, I’ll get her spit and say, ‘I’ll return your spit to you and add my own because you’re beautiful’,” he added.

Mr. Duterte went on to insult his female critics, calling them “crazy and ugly” and berated them for having “big teeth.”

We wouldn’t be surprised if there were guffaws in the audience, especially from appointed officials whose careers depend on a presidential signature.

Clearly this time, the President not only showed his trademark misogyny. He apparently made sure the graphicness of the image would be clearly seared into everyone’s minds.

This is the President whose every statement is aired live in most media stations.  The coarseness is incredible. The lack of respect and disregard for the dignity of the position he occupies turns our stomachs.

Kabastusan” hardly covers it. And apparently, there are ranking officials who choose to turn their heads when they witness or are confronted with similar cases in their jurisdiction.

PO1 Valencia’s incredulousness at his arrest reflects this.

And the cringe-fest does not end there. Even Philippine media has not been spared from Mr. Duterte’s insidious influence and tacit encouragement.

Newly-appointed special envoy to China and Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo recently berated Atty. Lourdes Mangaoang, who blew the lid on the shabu shipment cover-up at the Bureau of Customs (BOC), on his social media page.

But instead of discussing the BOC issue, Tulfo focused on a supposed lover’s description of Mangaoang’s privates in his column. Uncalled for and unnecessary.

If the President’s behavior continues, we expect more people to start believing that his viewpoint is acceptable.  Especially since his enablers also hold positions of power and more will be appointed eventually.

The grimness lies in the fact that there will be more incidents of harassment, coercion and entitlement. Not only among law enforcers. Think of presidential relatives and appointees. Think of those who work in environments not under daily media scrutiny.

 

Get more stories like this by subscribing to our weekly newsletter here.

Read more:

Voting for Duterte was a mistake

Duterte’s war on drugs was always going to be against the poor

Read more by Cathy Cañares Yamsuan:

All the President’s men…are recyclable?

Enrile and his ever-changing concept of reality under the Marcoses

TAGS: Duterte duterte administration misogyny Philippine Government Philippine National Police politics in the philippines Rape rodrigo duterte