The ghost of Jaqueline Hamill must have come back to haunt Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for disrespecting her even when she was dead after having been gang raped twenty-seven years ago.
Duterte refused to apologize over his statement captured in a 1989 video where he was regaling the audience about the hostage-taking incident in Davao prison. “Si Mayor dapat nauna (the Mayor should have been first [to rape her],” he said to the laughter of the audience.
Told that the video has gone viral, he said, “I am even willing to lose the presidency. Do not make me apologize for something which I did,” he said in an interview with reporters Sunday, April 17. He added that he said it “in the heat of anger” justifying it as macho talk: “Ganon ang mga lalaki magsalita. O putang ina naunahan mo pa ako, (That’s how a man speaks. Son of a bitch. You beat me to her. [Expletive.}That’s a cliche” he said.
He said, “”I am sorry in general…I am sorry to the Filipino people” while clarifying that he is not apologizing to a particular entity or person.
In 1989, 17 lay ministers visiting the Davao prison were held hostage by a group of inmates lead by Felipe Pugoy. Five of the misters were killed including 36-year old Jaqueline Hamill.
Duterte described Hamill as beautiful and looked like an American actress.
He said: “Putang ina, sayang (Son of a bitch, it’s too bad). Ang napasok sa isip ko, ni-rape nila, pinagpilahan nila lahat do’n (What I thought was, they raped them, they lined up for all of them there).”
Duterte said he got angry because rape happened. But there’s another reason: “Nagalit ako kasi ni-rape? Oo. Isa rin ‘yun. Pero napakaganda. Dapat, ang mayor muna ang mauna (Was I mad because she was raped? Yes, that’s one of the reasons. But she really was beautiful. The mayor should have been first).”
The audience burst into laughter.
The video elicited strong condemnation from Duterte’s rivals.
Poe, the lone woman presidential candidate, said Duterte’s remarks were “distasteful and unacceptable.”
She said: “As a woman, I take offense at this statement of Mayor Duterte about the rape victim.
“It is distasteful and unacceptable, and reflects his disrespect for women. No one, whoever she is and whatever her looks may be, deserves to be raped and abused. Rape is a crime and no laughing matter. We should all be outraged at abuses against women.”
She further said, “While some may seem impressed with the mayor’s nonchalance and tough talking stance, he should be reminded that at all times, women, men and the LGBT alike should be treated with dignity and respect.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay said rape and murder of a woman is not funny.
“Hindi nakakatawa ang rape at murder ng isang babae. Mister Duterte, wala ka bang ina? Wala ka bang anak na babae? (The rape and murder of a woman is not funny. Mr. Duterte, don’t you have a mother? Don’t you have daughters?
Addressing Duterte, Binay said: “Your statement is simply revolting. Nothing can justify such callous remarks.”
He called Duterte a “crazy maniac.”
“Nanghinayang ka na hindi mo na-rape ang Australian lay minister. Pinagyabang mo na minolestya mo ang inyong kasambahay. (You were disappointed that you were not able to rape the Australian lay minister. You even proudly proclaimed you molested your domestic helper.”) You are a crazy maniac who doesn’t respect women and doesn’t deserve to be president,” Binay said.
Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas said, “Seryosong problema ang rape (Rape is a serious problem). Anyone who laughs at the ultimate assault on the dignity of women should not be allowed to wield power. Ang babaae ay may karapatan, hindi pinaglalaruan. Hindi ito katatawanan, kahayupan ito (Women have rights, not to be played with. This is not funny, this is beastly.”)
Poe’s Vice Presidential candidate Chiz Escudero, who is being endorsed by Duterte’s son, said “It is foul and offensive, to say the least. It is a distasteful attempt to woo voters at the expense of women and by demeaning the dignity of women.”
Even Malacañang, which was slow in reacting to death of farmers and soldiers, has a quick reaction.
Press Secretary Sonny Coloma said, Duterte’s statement in the video, “speaks volumes not just about his utter lack of respect for women, which was already well-known even before he launched his candidacy. He does not respect nor care for the sensitivities of the countries with whom the Philippines maintains cordial and cooperative relations. Instead of being concerned about the breach of prison security in Davao City, he laments that as Mayor, he was upstaged by the prison inmates who committed the heinous crimes of rape and murder.”
“Indeed, he has confirmed by word and deed why those who oppose his candidacy have expressed utmost concern about his lack of fitness for the presidency,” Coloma said.
The victim’s fellow missionary , Robin Haines Merrill, denounced the candidacy of Duterte.
In a Facebook post, Merrill said, “On behalf of my sister in Christ, missionary Jacqueline Hamill, I publically denounce the presidential candidacy of Duterte in the Philippines. “
Merrill said: “Jacqueline was raped and had her throat slit while ministering in the jails in southern Philippines in a 1989 hostage taking. Duterte was recorded this week saying in his political rally that while he ordered the killing of the hostage takers while he was mayor, he wished he could have raped her first, since she was so beautiful.
“Looking back on this photo, I realize ministering in jails as a woman is very risky and looks outright naive, like the ‘you got what was coming to you’ mentality that is prevalent today.“
Duterte’s running mate, Alan Peter Cayetano declined to comment about it during the ABS-CBN vice presidential debate. He said Duterte will soon issue a statement.
In a 26.24 minute interview with reporters post in You Tube last Sunday night, Duterte was asked if he will apologize. He replied emphatically: “I will not. As a matter of honor, I will stick to my guns. I said it in the heat of anger.”
He said his comment was “not a joke.”
He further said: “I said it in a narrative. I was not smiling. I was just talking plain sense.”
Duterte’s supporters shot back at the Davao mayor’ detractors and questioned who was behind the posting online of the video.
It’s the ghost of Jacqueline Hamill haunting those who violated her, in deed and in words.