MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte wanted to "lighten the mood" when he joked with his aides about sex and womanizing during a typhoon briefing in a calamity-battered Camarines Sur, his spokesman said Monday.
Duterte was in the province on Sunday to check the impact of typhoon Ulysses which toppled electric posts, spawned floods that swamped homes, and drove tens of thousands of residents to evacuation centers last week.
"Hindi n'yo mapagkakait sa kaniya na dahil sunod-sunod ang nakikita niyang trahedya, kahit papaano, humanap ng dahilan para magkaroon ng kaunting break from mga kalamidad ang mga binibisita niya," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
(You cannot deprive him--because of the consecutive tragedies-- from finding even a little break from the calamity.)
"Let's not read anything beyond the fact na the President, more or less, wants to lighten the mood dahil buong araw, wala siyang nakita kundi disaster doon po sa Cagayan, at doon po sa Naga," he added.
(The whole day, he saw nothing but disaster in Cagayan and Naga.)
WHAT DUTERTE SAID
Duterte had said he knew Social Welfare Undersecretary for Bicol Affairs Marvel Clavecilla, who attended the typhoon briefing, because they were classmates in law school.
"Pero naubos ang panahon niya sa ano, medyo tumanda na. Nakakatanda talaga ‘yan. Sobrang babae, nakakatanda ‘yan," he quipped in the briefing.
(But he spent his time on women, then he got old. That really causes aging: having too many women.)
Clavecilla replied, "Sabi nga po ni Cong. LRay [Villafuerte] undersex daw po ako, undersex. Kaya kung puwede--kung puwede po gawin mo na akong secretary para hindi na undersex."
(Cong. LRay Villarfuerte told me I am undersexed. If possible, make me a secretary so that I will not be undersexed.)
Officials at the briefing could be heard laughing at his statement.
In the Palace's official transcript of the briefing, Clavecilla was quoted as saying "undersecs" instead of "undersex."
Duterte then brought up an acquaintance who supposedly died of the novel coronavirus.
"P***** i**. Kulang sa babae kung ganoon," Clavecilla replied.
(He lacked women, if that's the case.)
Vice President Leni Robredo, whose home province is Camarines Sur, said she did not personally hear Duterte's jokes. However, she said if the country is going through "something really serious," the government should "communicate how urgent a particular matter is."
"Napakahalaga yung mensahe na (it is very important that the message) we are giving utmost urgency on things that are really urgent," she told ANC.
"'Pag dinadaan kasi siya sa or 'pag binibigyan ng atensyon yung ibang bagay, yung na-e-evoke natin, nako-communicate natin, mali; nako-communicate natin na hindi ito ganun ka-importante na seseryosohin natin," she added.
(If we give attention to other things, what we evoke, communicate is wrong; we are communicating that this is not important enough to be taken seriously.)
COUNTRY NEEDS LEADER, NOT A CLOWN: GABRIELA
Women's rights advocate Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas criticized Duterte's "audacity to blabber inappropriate jokes when people literally drowned and died due to the series of calamities."
"Instead of dropping sexist remarks, the government should double time in providing emergency assistance. It should also apologize and explain its lack of preparedness and inadequate response tantamount to criminal neglect," Brosas said in a statement.
"Sa gitna ng sunod-sunod na kalamidad habang nasa panahon ng pandemya, ang kailangan ng mga Pilipino ngayon ay hindi payaso kundi epektibong pamumuno at kongkretong plano. Ilang emergency powers pa ba ang kailangan para mabilis na kumilos ang gobyerno?" she added.
(In the middle of consecutive calamities during the pandemic, what Filipinos need is not a clown, but effective leadership and a concrete plan. How many more emergency powers are needed to speed up government action?)
The death toll from the deadliest cyclone to hit the Philippines this year has climbed to 67, while many areas remained submerged in the northern region hit by the worst flooding in more than 4 decades, officials said on Sunday.
Twenty-two fatalities were recorded in Cagayan, 17 in southern Luzon, 8 in Metro Manila, and 20 in 2 other regions, said Mark Timbal, the disaster management agency spokesman.
- With a report from Reuters