Duterte's rape comment violates women's rights, says Philippines human rights body

Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Davao City on May 23, 2016.
Philippines' president-elect Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he speaks during a press conference in Davao City on May 23, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network) - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Wednesday (May 25) ruled that presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte violated the Magna Carta of Women when he gave a controversial comment on the rape and killing of an Australian missionary.

The Commission said that the "words and actions of Mayor Duterte (were) discriminatory of women that is enjoined by the Magna Carta of Women."

The CHR resolution suggested that the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) take appropriate measures.

"The CHR has the sacred constitutional duty to protect human rights and to call out persons when these rights are violated no matter what their position in society may be," Chairperson Chito Gascon said in a statement.

"The Commission believes that this mandate does not exculpate Mayor Duterte from acts committed or words uttered in the course of the electoral campaign when it involves breaches to fundamental rights, in this case, the prohibition of gender-based discrimination and violence," he added.

The presumptive president-elect earlier talked about the rape-slay of Jacqueline Hamill, who was among the victims of a hostage-taking in a Davao City jail in 1989."Son of a b****, what a waste. I was thinking that they raped her and 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," he said in a viral video.

The CHR ruling was in response to a complaint filed by WomanHealth Philippines, Kasarinlan para sa Kalayaan, Sentro ng Manggagawa ng Pilipinas, Labor Education and Research Network, and Sagip-Ilog Pilipinas.

The women groups earlier said that their complaint was not just based on Duterte's rape joke but also on other actions showing Duterte's "callous, derogatory and insulting treatment of women."

The CHR also gave recommendations on how government agencies can prevent similar incidents from happening. It said Congress should revisit the Magna Carta of Women "to include other punitive sanctions for direct violations by individuals of the rights enumerated therein."

It said the Commission should also "ordain and institute a code of conduct for candidates for public office and political parties to adhere to gender-sensitive language and conduct during campaigns, and to promote the rights of women."

The agency also suggested that the CSC consider yearly gender sensitivity seminars for all government officials.

"CHR expressed hope that because this complaint had been given due course and that after serious consideration a resolution on the matter has been issued involving the conduct of Mayor Duterte, that all stakeholders and in particular public officials would at all times deport themselves in fully respecting the rights of women guaranteed by the Magna Carta of Women," the CHR statement said.