Interior Secretary Mar Roxas gestures as he speaks to Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson before the start of the NEDA board meeting at the Aguinaldo State dining room in Malacanan on Tuesday.
INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE
Even as Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte continues to face strong criticism from the electorate and beyond, one of his rivals for the presidency, friend-turned-foe Manuel Roxas II, did not let up in criticizing the man he calls "judge, jury, executioner."
"Mayor Duterte is the biggest and gravest threat to our democracy. He is a dictator. We have seen this in how he carries himself; we have seen this through his opinions; we have seen this in how he acts, with his viewpoint as the only valid one," said Roxas, the Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer, in a news conference while campaigning in Calbayog City on Monday, April 18.
Roxas' statements came after a video of Duterte "joking" about an Australian woman who was killed and raped in 1989 went viral. Roxas and other presidential candidates earlier condemned Duterte for his remarks.
During a campaign rally in Quezon City last April 12, Duterte had recounted a hostage crisis in Davao City back in 1989, his first year as mayor.
"Nirape nila lahat ng mga babae so 'yung unang asolte, kasi nagretreat sila, naiwan yung ginawa nilang cover, ang isa doon yung lay minister na Australyana. Tsk, problema na ito. Pag labas, edi binalot. Tiningnan ko yung mukha, 'tangina parang artista sa America na maganda. Putangina, sayang ito. Ang nagpasok sa isip ko, nirape nila, pinagpilahan nila doon. Nagalit ako kasi nirape, oo isa rin 'yun . Pero napakaganda, dapat ang mayor muna ang mauna. Sayang,” he says in a clip that’s gone viral.
(All the women were raped so during the first assault, because they retreated, the bodies they used as a cover, one of them was the corpse of the Australian woman lay minister. Tsk, this is a problem. When the bodies were brought out, they were wrapped. I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful American actress. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that's one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.)
Duterte has insisted it was not a joke, but a mere recollection of the events from decades ago. Still, politicians and the public have denounced Duterte for seemingly making light of rape.
"Rape violates one's dignity. Rape is not just a crime of sex. Rape is a crime of control. Rape is a crime of subjugation. What differentiates torture from rape? In torture, you handcuff a person and subject him to things that he dislikes. Rape is the same. So this is a serious matter," said Roxas.
The LP stalwart added: "I do not want our country's President to be someone who views these grave matters as Duterte does, as though one can joke lightly about them. It is not right, and I will not permit it."
photo from newsinfo.inquirer.net