CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Pampanga-based netizens were dismayed over the utterance of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on the rape of an Australian woman missionary in his city in 1989.
Some called it "inappropriate" while others said that Duterte had obviously crossed the line.
One netizen Linda Paule said that while she initially had support for Duterte’s candidacy, the comment made her think twice.
“Joking or not, it was never a good statement to begin with. Shame,” Paule posted on her Facebook page. Several Pampanga based netizens, mostly women, also shared the video of Duterte uttering the said “joke” while asking Duterte supporters to consider re-thinking their support for the latter.
Duterte, in a video posted on YouTube, was captured speaking before a crowd regarding a rape incident involving an Australian lay minister.
Two Kapampangan pages on Feacebook also posted the video which was shared by different members and garnered mix reactions with most expressing disgust over the comment.
Several candidates in the national race also expressed their disappointment over the comment of Duterte. Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., in a statement sent to Sun.Star Pampanga, said that it looked like the tough-talking mayor took the joke too far because the life of a victim of a crime was involved.
“He took a step too far. Kawawa naman yung biktima. Let’s be sensitive to someone who has already suffered as a victim of a crime,” he said.
Malacañang was also quick to slam on Duterte on the issue.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that Duterte's statement, recorded on videotape, revealed that since he first served as Davao City mayor, he has not matured nor evolved, and that his offer to serve as president truly deserves serious scrutiny.
Duterte first served as the local chief executive of Davao in 1988-1992.
The incident Duterte was referring to seems to be the 1989 hostage-taking by Felipe Pugoy, an inmate of the Davao City Police Office. Pugoy had taken hostage of missionaries who had visited the DCPO to preach.
One of the missionaries was an Australian woman named Jacqueline Hamill.
According to an Aug. 16, 1989 story in the Chicago Tribune, Hamill and four other hostages were among the 20 people killed in the hostage drama in Davao City. The Chicago Tribune story reported that Hamill was “raped and had her throat slashed” by a gang inside the jail during the hostage-taking.
Coloma said Duterte makes fun of and trivializes the rape and killing of a female missionary from a foreign land who was part of a team made up mostly of women and who were doing their part in reforming convicted prison inmates.
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday refused to apologize for his controversial remarks adding that he used gutter language because he was still angry over the slain missionary’s fate.
“It was not a joke. I said it as a narrative. I was not smiling,” Duterte told reporters.
“Do not make me apologize for something which I did not do. It’s a matter of honor… I said it in the heat of anger,” he said.