MANILA - Taking down a statue depicting a "comfort woman" along Roxas Boulevard is an insult to the Filipina sex slaves victimized under the Japanese occupation, a lawyer said Sunday.
Atty. Tony La Viña, a political analyst, said while no legal rights have been violated when the statue was removed, the dignity that comes in memorializing that dark chapter in history was taken away.
"I oppose the removal of the statue but the biggest insult is on our comfort women," he told ANC.
"There's a little bit dignity in memorializing it, and we take it away from them," he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte himself defended the removal of the "comfort woman" memorial, saying it's "not the policy of government to antagonize other nations."
"We can place it somewhere else. If you want to place it in a private property, fine, but do not use -- because that issue, in so far as I am concerned, tapos na iyan (that's over)," he added.
The term "comfort women" was Japan's euphemism for Asian women who were forced to work in its wartime brothels. Japan has apologized to the women and provided funds to help them.
La Viña said the removal of the "comfort woman," which he said was done "like a thief in the night," has no impact on the relationship between Japan and the Philippines.
He cited countries like Korea and China who have maintained good relationships with Japan despite having their own "comfort women" statues.