Duterte: ‘Jokes, profanities? I’m testing limits of civility’
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has justified his coarse language and jokes, saying these were his way of responding to detractors who have been maligning him.
Duterte, who has been accused of being a bully and a sexist because of his profane language, said his critics have been disrespecting him since the campaign for the presidency in the 2016 elections.
“I hope I have not offended anybody by my strong words or my jokes,” the President said during a forum on small businesses in Dimasalang, Masbate on Wednesday.
“Parang sinadya ko ‘yan para pangbastos (I intentionally do that to disrespect people). I am really pursuing the limits of civility kasi kampanya pa lang, binabastos na nila ako eh (because they have been
disrespecting me since the campaign),” he added.
Duterte uses expletives and insults to attack persons and groups critical of his policies, including his war on drugs. Among his usual targets are the opposition, the Catholic Church and human rights advocates who denounce the spate of deaths tied to his anti-narcotics campaign.
The President also jokes about rape and sexual harassment, drawing the ire of women’s rights advocates who claimed that his antics promote sexism and gender discrimination.
On Tuesday, Duterte sparked controversy again for joking that Commission on Audit (COA) personnel who delay government projects should be kidnapped and tortured.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte was joking and was merely expressing his “exasperation and vexation” with stringent rules that hamper government projects.
Panelo said Duterte’s irreverent side has endeared him to the majority of Filipinos who voted for him.
“For him to change the endearing ways that have struck a chord with the masses just to please and appease his critics and the opposition is akin to dreaming an impossible dream,” the chief legal adviser said.
Before defending his vulgar language, Duterte chided COA anew for its interpretations of government rules that he said delay the implementation of projects.
“Isa pa ‘yang COA ang p****** i**. Gusto ng COA mag-interpret para tuloy pampatagal. Sinasabi ko sa kanila, pareho lang naman tayo abogado. Kung basahin ko na pabor sa akin para madali at wala namang corruption, huwag kayong maglagay ng hadlang kasi natatagalan ang gobyerno (That son of a b**** COA provides interpretations that delay projects. I told them we are all lawyers. If there is no corruption, they should not impede the implementation of government projects),” Duterte said.
He also claimed that Filipinos hate the opposition and even associated its campaign color with human waste.
“Kayong mga yellow hindi na… Sinusuka kayo ng mga tao. Ako… Ano-ano kung sabihin. Tinat** ko na kayo, marami pa kayong daldal (You yellows, the people are tired of you. I am excreting you. You keep on talking),” the President said.
Yellow is associated with the opposition Liberal Party.
In a separate speech in Cataingan town also in Masbate on Wednesday, Duterte said bystanders should rob bishops because they have lots of money.
“Hoy, kayong mga tambay diyan, ‘pag dumaan ‘yang obispo ninyo holdapa ‘yan maraming pera ‘yan p***** i** niya.” Patayin mo. Galit sa akin ‘yung sige’g yawyaw (Hey, bystanders, if your bishop passes by, rob him because he has lots of money. Kill him. He is angry with me. He talks a lot),” he said.
The President also claimed that 35 percent of New People’s Army fighters are gay but did not present evidence to prove this.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he would not take sides on the remark of Duterte to kidnap and torture COA officials who find fault in government projects.
Sotto said he is accepting the statement of Panelo that the President was merely joking. – With Edith Relagado, Cecille Suerte Felipe