Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has once again demonstrated his uncanny ability to rile up people with controversial statements as he delivered a rather extravagant compliment to Tita Baja-Gallantes, mayor of the Garcia Hernandez municipality in the province of Bohol, during a campaign rally hosted by the latter.
"I just talk like that but I’m just joking. And you are truly beautiful", Duterte said. "If it were me, why would I ever break up with you? I will really grab and hold on to your panty if you try to leave, even until the garter snaps. You’re just too beautiful".
The president’s conduct quickly earned him the scorn of a women’s rights advocacy group, the Gabriela Women's Party, which slammed his apparent display of "machismo".
"We in Gabriela Women’s Party strongly condemn this sick and disgusting display of machismo, infidelity and ethical bankruptcy", the group said in a statement, as quoted by The Philippine Star.
A number of social media users also condemned Mayor Baja-Gallantes for her behaviour during the event.
She is so stupid and a whore.. mayor of bohol you are a disgrace to the community. You let the Duterte sexually harassed and bully you. The joke is very inappropriate.— Rommel T (@rommeltz4) 10 мая 2019 г.
What a setback for women’s rights! I guess this mayor won’t stand up for her female constituents when they suffer harassment.— Mendiola Bridge (@mendiola_bridge) 10 мая 2019 г.
A person who consents to such act is not worthy of a public office. She can't defend herself, she can't defend the public.— yousef ibn-iacob (@AqsiJose) 10 мая 2019 г.
In 2018, Duterte also found himself facing an avalanche of harsh criticism from human rights organisations and feminist movements after he ordered troops to shoot female rebels in their genitals to render them “useless”.