Duterte Calls Women ‘Bitches’ and ‘Crazy’ at Female Empowerment Event

At an event aimed at celebrating women's achievements, President Rodrigo Duterte couldn’t, yet again, hold back on the sexist comments.

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Mar 14 2019, 5:26pm

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte chose quite the words to express his gratitude for the women who received the Outstanding Women in Law Enforcement and National Security of the Philippines award early this week.

Speaking to a predominantly female crowd at Malacañang Palace, Duterte started by addressing the women as “puta”, which translates to "bitch" or "whore."

He continued to call the group “crazy women” and said: “you know you women are depriving me of my freedom of expression. You criticise every sentence or word I say, that is my freedom to express myself.”

Rappler reported that this was likely in response to the backlash he received when he told women to stay away from Catholic priests because: “God gave him a penis. What will they do with that? Will they slap it against the door every morning?”

To make matters worse, he tried to justify himself by saying “I love women. That’s why you see I have two wives, that means I like women,” the Guardian reports. His disrespectful comments were met with light laughter and awkward silence.

In response to the president’s tone-deaf remarks, Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros clapped back by saying that freedom of expression cannot be used to marginalize the human rights of others. “In this context, an individual’s freedom of expression should never negate other rights, such as the right of women to be free from violence” the senator shared.

Hontiveros pointed out that Duterte’s comments are symptomatic of a wider issue that “anti-women remarks reinforce sexist behaviour, gender stereotyping and discrimination against women that leads to violence” in a country she claims has a “growing climate of sexism and misogyny.”

Feminist alliance Gabriela also called out Duterte for being “a misogynist president who feels entitled to demean, humiliate or disrespect women according to his whim.”

Duterte continues to enjoy high satisfaction ratings in the Philippines, with latest surveys showing 76% of Filipinos are satisfied with his administration. Ironically, he also got an "excellent" rating for "promoting women's rights."

This article originally appeared on VICE ASIA.

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