PRESIDENT Duterte’s sex jokes at the end of a typhoon response briefing in Camarines Sur last Sunday did not sit well with Vice President Leni Robredo who called it “bad communication” in the aftermath of a disaster.
She said that during a calamity, it is important that officials tells Filipinos that urgent matters are being attended to.
“Para sa akin, hindi lang (For me, it’s not) only with this incident, but with many other incidents. If we’re going through something really serious, it is also very important for us to communicate how urgent a particular matter is,” Robredo told ANC.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas criticized Duterte for his “sexist” remarks. She also said the country does not need a “clown” for a President.
“Imagine still having the 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,” she said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said said the jokes were intended to “lighten the mood” amid the already difficult situation that the country.
The President, towards the end of the briefing on government’s typhoon response, exchanged jokes with officials attending the briefing.
Duterte told Cabinet members he knows Marvel Clavecilla, presidential adviser for Bicol who holds the rank of undersecretary, because they were classmates in law school. He said Clavecilla got old because of womanizing.
“Naubos ang panahon niya sa ano, tumanda na. Nakakatanda talaga ‘yan. Sobra babae, nakakatanda ‘yan (Time has passed him by, he’s gotten old. Too much womanizing, it makes you old,” Duterte said.
Clavecilla, playing with his official title of undersecretary, replied, “Sabi nga po ni Cong. LRay (Luis Raymund Villafuerte), undersexed (undersecs) daw po ako. Undersexed. Kaya kung puwede po, gawin mo na akong secretary para hindi na ‘undersexed.’ (Just like Cong. Villafuerte said, I’m undersexed so if its alright with you, make me a secretary so I won’t be undersexed anymore).”
The Palace’s official transcript of the briefing quoted Clavecilla as saying he is “undersecs.”
Clavecilla’s statement drew laughter from some of those in the briefing.
When Duterte and Clavecilla discussed another friend who apparently passed away because of COVID-19, Duterte said: “P__a, kulang sa babae ‘yung ganun (Son of a bitch! He needed more women).”
Robredo said while she did not personally see the President making the jokes, it is important for a leader to show the people the seriousness of the situation that the country is facing.
“Kapag panahon na may matindi tayong pinagdadaanan, napakahalaga yung mensahe (When we are going through something like this, the message is so important).
Napakahalaga ‘yung mensahe na (very important is the message that) we are giving utmost urgency on things that are really urgent,” she said.
Roque said people should not read anything into the exchange of jokes between the President and Clavecilla, that Clavecilla has little or lack of sex life because of his position as an “under-sexitary.”
“Alam mo talagang ugali na ng Pilipino na bagama’t marami tayong pagsubok eh sinusubukan pa rin natin na i-lighten iyong ating mga problema… So sa akin ganoon lang po iyon, let’s not read anything beyond the fact na the President wants to more or less lighten the mood dahil buong araw wala siyang nakita kung hindi disaster (You know, it is the nature of Filipinos that despite the challenges they face, they try to lighten the problem… For me it’s like that, let’s not read anything beyond the fact that the President wants to more or less lighten the mood because the whole day, all he saw was disaster),” he said.
Clavecilla, prior to his joke, called Duterte’s attention to alleged corrupt officials he recently named in public, saying some have either died or retired.
Duterte later said some might have died because of interaction with women.
It was not the first time Duterte joked about women or intimacy.
Also on Sunday before visiting Camarines Sur from Cagayan province, the President joked about paying a courtesy call on Vice President Leni Robredo.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Robredo should have taken the hint and met Duterte in Camarines Sur on Sunday and proved that she was willing to work with government especially in attending to the problems in the country like attending to the needs of those who were affected by the typhoon.
Robredo arrived ahead of Duterte in Cagayan. – With Jocelyn Montemayor