‘Heightened bravado’ over rape » Manila Bulletin News



Leandro DD Coronel

By Leandro DD Coronel


Life under the Dutete administration is like deja vu, unpleasant incidents are likely to recur.

Take the rape “jokes.” When, during the last presidential campaign, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte salivated over an abomination of a joke about raping a foreign missionary, I instantly knew I couldn’t support such a crude person.

For, what kind of human being could be so callous as to exploit the pain of, not only the family of the rape victim, but also all women, especially those who have gone through similar unspeakable and life-changing ordeals?

And now the deja vu has come. Mr. Duterte has assured our soldiers that he would tolerate their acts if they raped our women. This is mind-numbing crassness, unprecedented in its depth and depravity in the history of Filipino leadership. Not even the shallow Joseph Estrada drooped as low for cheap laughs. What kind of human being are we dealing with here?

His defenders see nothing wrong with rape “jokes,” which I put in quotes because they are not jokes, they are sharp knives coated with kanto-boy levity to alleviate the pain . Sycophant politicians like Tito Sotto and Manny Pacquiao can’t understand why people take the jokes seriously.

His apologists like Vitaliano Aguirre and Ernesto Abella put nonsensical spin on the jokes in futile attempts to rescue their boss from public anger. These guys must be exasperated about having to put a positive spin on their principal’s verbal gaffes, they tell us to just learn to live with them. “Get used to it,” the fawning Aguirre tells us.

Abella obfuscates by coming up with unintelligible interpretations of his boss’ mutterings. Duterte’s second rape remark was a product of “heightened bravado,” Abella says. This is the same guy who told us to use our “creative imagination” to be able to decipher his boss’ meanderings in thought.

Sycophants and apologists are expected to put a positive spin on Duterte’s indecipherable or contradictory statements. Their political survival is tied directly to the President’s staying in office. Lacking in intellectual prowess or other qualifications for their positions, they hang their survival on their usefulness as lackeys.

Worse than the approving nods and hosannas from Duterte’s designated cheerleaders is the seeming approval, or at least silence, of his at-large supporters.

Duterte unleashes his Rape Joke Part II and outrage comes only from the usual dissenters. These are tried-and-true anti-strongman activists from society’s rank and file. Parts of civil society, media pundits, and outraged plain citizens jump on Duterte, and that’s expected.

But where are the rest of the people? Are they not scandalized by rape remarks? Where are the teachers, professionals, church-goers, mothers, women from all walks of life, academe, the rest of civil society, housewives, and the rest of us? Does our silence mean we approve of the kind of painful and hurtful remarks made by no less than the president of the land?

Notice I didn’t ask about the rich and the business sector. It’s useless, because these sectors don’t care about anything but their selfish interests.

But what about the rest of us Filipinos? Have we become just bystanders in our own true-to-life drama? Are we reduced to being televiewers of our own soap opera?

If the rest of us are just sleeping, we had better wake time before it’s too late. If, on the other hand, we approve of rape “jokes” and flip-flopping rhetoric, then Almighty have mercy on us. Because the alternative is not merciful at all.


Tantrum Ergo. In case you’re wondering what the kerfuffle about covfefe is all about, it’s US President Donald Trump’s doing. One evening recently he was doing something he likes to do in the middle of the night: Busy on Twitter. From out of nowhere, this tweet came from The Donald: “Despite the negative media covfefe.” Social media was agog, wondering what the word meant. And then Trump’s tweet disappeared. But, in the meantime, it had gone viral. A candidate for word of the year, perhaps? No doubt, it will gain entry in OED some day, the Oxford English Dictionary.

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