By Ben Rosario
Gabriela Women’s Party on Wednesday said that even women advocates in government are already fed up with President Rodrigo Duterte’s “brazen promotion of sexual violence in public”, saying that others in the bureaucracy must now freely speak on their rejection of the chief executive’s lack of respect for women.
In a press statement issued by Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, the partylist group welcomed the statement issued by the Philippine Commission on Women when it called out Duterte for his sexist remarks even in official events.
Duterte faced strong criticisms from various fronts, particularly in social media sites, for his controversial “maid rape” anecdote that he recounted before a huge crowd in Kidapawan City, Cotabato on December 29.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo quickly dismissed the mounting complaints as he argued that what Duterte recounted before his audience wasn’t obscene because people were laughing.
The PCW statement did not specifically point to Duterte but addressed its appeal for respect for women to state officials.
“The PCW reiterates that sexual molestation or abuse, including rape, are public crimes and a violation of human dignity,” said the PCW, a government policy-making and coordinating agency on the advancement of women concerns and role in the country.
It added: “It is an abhorrent attack on a person’s self-worth and should never be used as subject matter to prove a point.”
Gabriela urged women advocates in other government agencies “to reject and speak out versus Duterte macho-fascism, as his perversion goes against our collective goal to end all forms of violence against women.”
“This is clear sign that women advocates in government are fed up with the President’s brazen promotion of sexual violence in public,” the GWP said.
“Duterte should expect a stronger backlash from inside the bureaucracy should he insist on his use of rape and sexual assault as entertainment material for his audience,” the group stressed.
The partylist organization added: We cannot be silent anymore on this blatant reversal of our efforts to educate the public on rape, sexual harassment and other forms of abuse.”
On the other hand, PCW Officials are “supposed to uphold the dignity of its citizens, especially women, promote gender equality, and be exemplars of honor and integrity,” it said.
The agency also lamented that some continue to “perpetuate misogyny grounded on power.”