Presidential hopeful refuses to apologise for rape insult
Philippine presidential hopeful Rodrigo Duterte stuck to his guns yesterday amid outrage over a remark he made about a murdered rape victim, saying he regretted his "gutter language" but would not apologise for being misinterpreted.
A YouTube video appeared over the weekend showing Mr Duterte speaking at a recent rally where he recalled his experience of being a local mayor during a 1989 prison riot in which an Australian missionary visiting the jail was raped and killed.
The video clip showed Mr Duterte (71) telling supporters he was angry that a "beautiful" woman had been murdered. He said inmates had lined up to rape her and it was a "waste" because as mayor, he should have been first.
The clip spread quickly on social media and prompted outrage from women's groups and politicians.
Mr Duterte, who has been mayor of the southern Davao City on and off since 1986, tops the latest opinion polls ahead of the May 9 presidential election, helped largely by his anti-crime platform.
Mr Duterte refused to say sorry yesterday - even if it cost him the presidency. He claimed what he had said back in 1989 to an audience of criminals was just "street language" that they understood.
"I said it in the heat of anger," he said. "I'm sorry in general. I'm sorry to the Filipino people, it's my style, it's my mouth, I said it in anger - listen to the story behind it."
He added: "It was not a joke. I said it in a narrative. I wasn't smiling."