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What’s the fuss? Panelo: Duterte boasting about pretty girls in Davao with rape joke

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By Prince Golez

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo defended the recent rape joke made by President Rodrigo Duterte, suggesting that the chief executive’s comment was distorted.

On August 30, Duterte said in jest that his home city of Davao has the highest number of rape cases in the country because because “there are many beautiful women” there.

According to data released by the Philippine National Police, Davao City had the highest number of rape cases in the second quarter of 2018 at 42.

“The human rights critics and (Duterte’s) detractors are nitpicking again and making a fuzz about a statement about many beautiful women being raped in Davao making it a basis for accusing him of misogyny,” Panelo said on Monday.

“They always distort the intended meaning of the President’s comment,” he said.

What Duterte really meant to say, the abogado explained, was that Davao City has a lot of beautiful women and that could be “one motivating reason” for the higher number of rape incidents there.

Amid the President’s anti-women remarks, Panelo pointed out that Duterte has advanced the protection of women’s rights.

“The President reveres his late mother and as Davao City Mayor had undertaken projects and measures protective of the rights of women and advancing their cause,” Duterte’s legal adviser said.

“As President he has given recognition to women of distinction by appointing them to his Cabinet and in other high offices in the government, the latest of which is putting a woman at the helm of a male dominated Supreme Court,” he said.