Why the anger toward women?

There is someone here who is patently unfit for office and it’s a he, not a she.”

This is what #Everywoman has to say in a statement slamming the words of the President last Wednesday regarding the “characteristics” he is looking for in the successor of Maria Lourdes Sereno as chief justice.


“Gusto ko yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course, it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he told reporters in Malacañang. (I want someone whose integrity people believe in. Of course, it could not be a politician, especially not a woman.)

Asked about the replacement for Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, herself a former associate justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. Duterte said he “will have to consult everybody” except for the retiring Ombudsman. “I will even have to consult the Ombudsman people,” he added, but not Morales, “para sigurado yung gusto ng tao” (to be sure it’s someone the people like).


Is it just because the President personally dislikes the two women, or because he has a low opinion of women, generally?

The statement, says #Everywoman, a coalition of women’s groups, “reeks of his now well-known misogyny.”

“From the way he sexually harasses the last few women in his official family to this statement that implies that women cannot really have political integrity nor brilliance, Duterte highlights the most disgusting aspects of Philippine machismo,” the posting adds.

Mr. Duterte seems unaware of the existence of the Magna Carta of Women which “orders him to ensure the equality of and nondiscrimination against women appointees to high-level positions,” says #Everywoman.
The posting also reminds the President that, until Sereno’s case is finally resolved (she has the right to appeal the Supreme Court decision), she remains chief justice and “he should keep his grubby hands off her in the meantime.”

The President’s remarks are of a piece with his oft-stated general antiwomen attitude, which he has shown by his personal behavior and official acts, especially his hostility toward women who are unafraid of confrontation and bluntly speak their mind when he says or does something offensive. As I have pointed out previously, he obviously believes that women who dare step out of their “proper place” by challenging his and his minions’ authority are betraying their accepted social role and defying the social order where men are deemed intrinsically superior.

This, from a man who was raised by a mother who was outspoken and authoritative and even led the protest movement in Davao against the Marcos dictatorship. And this, too, from a man whose daughter, Mayor Sara, is not just outspoken and feisty, but also has proven herself in the political arena. What gives?

No doubt, part of the “colonization project” of our islands has been the spread and perpetuation of popular American culture among Filipinos—through movies, books, TV, and, most importantly, among our


music-obsessed people, music and songs.

This should be borne out by the staging of “The American Songbook” later this month on a tour of universities in Baguio. The “songbook” consists of hits by composers Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Oscar Hammerstein in the first part, to be followed by the works of Leonard Bernstein, Marvin Hamlisch, and Stephen Sondheim, among others.

Fans of popular music of yesteryears will be glad to know that among the songs to be featured are: “Embraceable You,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over me,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” “So in Love,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “If I loved You,” “Maria,” “Tonight,” “What I Did for Love,” “Send in the Clowns,” “Defying Gravity,” and “Seasons of Love.”

The performers are tenor Jan Briane Astom, sopranos Mheco Manlangit and Jasmin Salvo, with alternating pianists Gabriel Paguirigan and Ricardo Abapo.

Here’s the schedule of performances: May 25 at 4 p.m. at the University of the Cordilleras Theater; May 26 at 6 p.m. at the UP Baguio Teatro Amianan; and May 27 at 1:30 p.m. (by invitation only) at the University of Baguio Centennial Hall. The UC and UPB concerts are open to the public.

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TAGS: appointment, misogyny, ombudsman, women
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