Duterte tough on child rapists

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has once more raised the issue—sometimes taken as a joke—of rape, but stressed he was turned off by rapists who victimized children.

In a speech before Filipino-American tourists at his hometown Davao City, Duterte recounted his problem with the 1980s anti-communist group Alsa Masa, who would often ransack houses, rape women and children, and turn them as hostages. 

Duterte said what he did not like most was having children raped by their attackers but would give a free pass on a Miss Universe—even if the rapist knew he could get killed afterwards. 

In a mix of Filipino and English, Duterte said: “What I don’t like is for children to be raped. If you mess up with a Ms. Universe contestant, maybe I would even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know that you are going to die,” Duterte said in his speech during the 11th Ambassadors’ Tour Philippine Reception at Davao City. 

There was no immediate reaction from the Ms. Universe pageant organizers nor from the usually vigorous women’s groups.

This was the third time when the President would make off-color jokes about rape, following his earlier remarks of having mistresses and his often musings about women. 

While addressing military troops in Iligan City last May at the height of clashes in Marawi City, Duterte said he would back soldiers, even one who would be found guilty of rape while martial law was in operation there.

President Rodrigo Duterte

“I’ll take your place in prison. If you rape three [women], I’ll take the blame,” Duterte said. 

He also sparked outrage at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, after he cracked a rape joke about a deceased Australian missionary, Jacqueline Hammil. 

Malacañang earlier defended Duterte’s rape , saying this was simply Duterte’s “heightened bravado.” 

Continuing with his rambling speech, which lasted more than an hour, Duterte admitted he had another younger girlfriend, despite his first marriage with ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman annulled,  and having a common-law wife, Honeylet Avanceña.  

“I also had a younger girlfriend since the two are already old,” he said in Filipino, referring to Avanceña and his ex-wife Zimmerman.

The President also confessed to diplomats of faking a diagnosis for tuberculosis, so he could graduate from the San Beda College of Law even if he did not finish his ROTC training.

Near the end of his speech, Duterte jested he could go to “hell” with one of his appointees, actor Cesar Montano who heads the Tourism Promotions Board and could join forces in finding Satan to make him suffer. 

Despite this, Duterte reiterated his vow to continue his bloody war on drugs despite accusations that thousands of suspects had been killed by police and vigilantes since he took office.

“Human rights? That is bullshit to me,” he said, recalling how he called then-US president Barack Obama “a son of a bitch” after Washington criticized the wave of killings.

Police say at least 3,200 people were slain in their anti-drug operations but rights groups charge that thousands more have been killed by vigilante groups. With AFP

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