THE only daughter of former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and ex-president Bill Clinton called President Rodrigo Duterte a “murderous thug” after the Chief Executive joked about owning up to rapes that could be committed by soldiers under martial law in Mindanao.
In her Twitter account, Chelsea wrote, “Not funny. Ever,” as she shared a tweet by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker linking his followers to a story on Duterte’s joke.
“Duterte is a murderous thug with no regard for human rights. It’s important to keep pointing that out (and) that rape is never a joke,” Chelsea said in response to a comment on her tweet.
Speaking on Friday to troops deployed in the fighting in Mindanao, Duterte sought to reassure soldiers who might be accused of committing abuses under martial law, and jokingly said that if any of them were to rape three women, he would personally claim responsibility for the crimes.
“Trabaho lang kayo. Ako na bahala. Ako na magpakulong sa inyo. ‘Pag naka-rape ka ng tatlo, aminin ko na akin iyon [Just do your job, I will take care of the rest. I’d go to jail for you. If you raped three people, I’ll own up to it],” Duterte said.
The President made the remark before soldiers in Iligan City in Mindanao, where he imposed martial law on Tuesday to try to crush Islamic State-linked rebels, who have been fighting the military after attacking Marawi City.
It was not the first time Duterte made a joke about rape. He caused outrage in the lead-up to his presidential election win last year when he recalled a 1989 prison riot in which inmates lined up to rape an Australian missionary, who was killed.
In what was intended as a joke, Duterte said the victim was “beautiful” and as mayor of Davao City where the riot took place, he should have been first in line. He later apologized for his “gutter language” and said he did not intend to disrespect women or rape victims.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President only exaggerated his expression of support to government troops as the military’s commander in chief.
“First and foremost, the President has the whole nation’s safety and protection in mind. In Iligan, he gave his full support to the men and women in uniform, taking complete responsibility for their actions, even exaggeratedly describing crimes like taking a fourth wife,” Abella said.
“PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) is decisively acting, speaking with heightened bravado, that law and order would be brought back in these areas of rebellion in the soonest time possible and that normalcy would likewise be restored with minimal loss of lives,” he added.