MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP WILOCI)’s circle of women lawyers and the Gabriela Party list have condemned President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged inappropriate gesture to his domestic helper.
The UP College of Law, a women’s rights group, said it was “not a small matter” and “should not be dismissed as a joke”.
“Laws forbid an employer from making an obscene gesture towards an employee. Our laws punish obscene behavior towards strangers in public or on the Internet. Local governments have issued” anti-pollack “decrees,” she said. group in a statement issued on Wednesday, the last day of International Women’s Month.
“There is no way to reconcile the signs and policies promoted by these laws and regulations with the President’s allegedly ‘funny’ attempt to grab his employee’s crotch while he is being served cake, taken in a video clip that has been shared. widely on social media. “, added the statement, a copy of which was posted on Facebook by Atty. Dot Balasbas-Gancayco, member of the group Board of Directors.
UP WILOCI, led by Atty. Arlene Lapuz-Ureta urged government agencies, lawmakers and officials to prove that they are indeed “women champions”.
“If they are really interested in protecting women from the normalization of dignity, or if they really want to help change the mindset of many Filipinos that casual pambabastos are something men do, they should at least express public concern that the top official” “He did not think of anything to make an obscene gesture to his employee wife and that his representative did not waste time denying it as a harmless joke,” they said.
“It’s not harmless. It’s not funny,” they added.
“It’s a pathetic example, especially for young people. It normalizes obscene, inhuman and illegal behavior. “
The viral video showed Duterte sitting at a table for his 76th birthday this weekend. He then appeared to reach the crotch of a woman approaching him, holding a cake.
Gabriella said the act sends a “very worrying message” that Dutter, as president of the Philippines, could remove everything.
“The act brings with it a very disturbing message for the public: that the president can do anything with women and get away with it easily,” she said in a statement.
The party list also came as a surprise to presidential spokesman Harry Rock and others who defended Dutter’s actions.
“This also speaks to the way in which Duterte, Harry Roque and the rest of his members have actively normalized the view that marginalized women must be submissive to men, especially those in power, in order to prevent unwanted sexual advances.” against women looking like a spectacle, “he said.
Rock, a former human rights lawyer who was also associated with the UP College of Law, dismissed criticism of Duterte, saying there was no “evil” in his actions.
“He was a roommate for a long time,” Rock told a news conference last Monday.
“Our president is really joking. But there is nothing wrong with that because Mrs Honeylet is facing it [Avanceña]he added, referring to the President’s partner.
(This is his long-term help. The President likes to joke. But that’s not a bad thing because Mrs Honeylet was there.)
Duterte in 2018 said he touched the private parts of a female assistant when she was still a teenager. Salvador Panelo’s spokesman at the time said this was a “ridiculous joke”.
The Human Rights Committee, among other groups, has repeatedly reminded Duterte and some of his officials of the need to respect women’s rights.
Duterte has been criticized many times for sexist comments and rape jokes. He even called many women “bitches”.
In November 2020, he and other government officials joked about sex and feminization during a post-hurricane briefing in Camarines Sur. This prompted a reminder from the CHR that the objectification of women is a form of violence.
In January, he said women were not eligible to become presidents.
Earlier this month, Duterte said the government could “be proud to claim” that it took action “to create an environment where women’s rights are respected and their contributions to society are recognized”.
March is celebrated as Women’s Month, both internationally and in the Philippines.
“For our sisters, let us not let anyone disrespect us. Do not dismiss profanity as a joke. It is against the law,” said UP WILOCI.
– with reports from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News
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