By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Manila Bulletin/PCOO

Despite disparaging statements, President Rodrigo Duterte does not hate women, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Wednesday.

Interviewed over The Mangahas Interviews, Roque said the President has long instituted facilities promoting women’s welfare when he was the Mayor of Davao City.

“May track record siya. He has supported family planning programs for women. Wala pa tayong batas na VAWC (Violence Against Women and Children), may ordinance na siya sa VAWC sa Davao and other psychosocial services,” Roque said.

“Maski may sinasabi siya, he knows what he has done for women,” he added.

The Chief Executive has been consistent in issuing misogynist remarks, especially when directed against women critical of his policies.

The President has also accused Senator Leila de Lima of being involved in the drug trade; claimed Rappler news website chief Maria Ressa was peddling fake news; and called former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno stupid for asking judges under the President’s drug list to only agree to an arrest when there is an arrest warrant. All of these women have criticized the Duterte administration.

Late last year, he also questioned where Vice President Leni Robredo sleeps at night.

Roque once again found himself trying to explain away Duterte's remarks, as he has often done in the past.

This time, he maintained that the President’s displeasure with these women is not because they speak their mind.

“Si de Lima is accused in a drug case. Kay Ressa, hindi po si Presidente ang nagsabi na lumabag siya ng saligang batas. Si Sereno, siya ay tinanggal ng kasama niya sa hukuman. Si Vice President, dahil namumulitika,” Roque said.

“This is not because they are women,” he added.

Duterte also slammed Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and even international figures such as United Nations Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard ad International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

He made a rape joke during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying that he should have been the first to rape a missionary who was gang-raped and killed by her captors.

The President has also said that soldiers should shoot female rebels in the vagina for them to become "useless," and said in January that the Presidency is not a job for a woman.