Visiting Israel, Duterte Justifies Remarks on Rape as 'Freedom of Expression'

The Philippine president’s aides approached him during his speech and asked him to stop cursing, according to a foreign journalist

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte waves upon his arrival in Jerusalem at the start of an official visit to Israel, September 2, 2018.
The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte waves upon his arrival in Jerusalem at the start of an official visit to Israel, September 2, 2018.Credit: AFP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, addressed a closed event in Jerusalem on Sunday, where he justified remarks he made last week about rape.

According to a foreign reporter who was at the event, the president listed "democracy and freedom of expression" as justifications for his statement that "if there are many beautiful women, there will be many rape cases as well."

>> Read more: The Hidden Parts of Philippines' Duterte's Israel Visit – a Major Oil Deal and an Arms Display

Duterte's assistants approached him after he had uttered curses in Filipino during his speech and asked him to refrain from swearing, the reporter added. The event at the Jerusalem's Ramada Hotel was attended by hundreds of Filipino citizens living in Israel, and Israeli journalists were not permitted to enter the hall.

"Trump is a good friend of mine. He speaks my language. Obama is a cold man," Duterte said. He went on to apologize for referring to the former U.S. president as "a son of a bitch."

Last week, speaking about the high rate of rape in his city, Duterte said it because, “No one agrees to it on the first attempt. Even if they are in a movie theater, she will reject him and say ‘no.’” Duterte's spokesman said after the speech that his words should not be taken seriously.

The president of the Philippines landed in Israel on Sunday for an official visit that will last for four days. Duterte is scheduled to have lunch with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday and tour the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center.

A Filipino is photographed with a cardboard picture of Duterte at the Ramada Hotel, September 2, 2018.Credit: Noa Landau

This is the first visit by a Philippine president since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1957. The event in Jerusalem took place against the backdrop of Israel and the Philippines attempting to sign an agreement to improve the conditions of migrant workers from the Asian Republic, after years of struggle, according to which the brokerage fees of placement companies will be limited to $800 and the cost of the flight. There are about 30,000 Filipino workers in Israel.

Hundreds of Filipinos living in Israel arrived at the Ramada Hotel on Sunday. Before Duterte arrived, they were photographed with a cardboard picture of him. "The situation in the Philippines was already bad and he was chosen to make a drastic change," said Jiva Shivat. Bal, who has been living in Israel for 25 years, added: "This is the first time that our president has come here. You can criticize him as much as you want, but for us, he is a good president. He’s eliminating drugs.”

Members of the Filipino community in Jerusalem await the arrival of their president Rodrigo Duterte in Israel, September 2, 2018. Credit: AFP

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