PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte stated on Wednesday that the country’s next ombudsman must not be a politician and, more importantly, not a woman.
The firebrand leader made the statement during a brief interview with reporters at Malacanang. Duterte said that while the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) will nominate the next Ombudsman, he will choose a person known for his integrity.
“They will nominate, but I will choose, and I want a person who is admired by people because of his integrity. Of course it could not be a politician, especially not a woman,” he said in a mixture of Filipino and English, reported by Rappler.
He did not elaborate on why he felt this way.
The current ombudsman, Conchita Carpio Morales, has proven a thorn in the side of Duterte during her term, which is set to end on July 26. Duterte has sought the removal of Morales, along with the chief justice and prominent Duterte critic Maria Lourdes Sereno, accusing them of allowing themselves to be used to discredit his administration.
Soreno was successfully removed from her post on Friday after a Supreme Court judgement ousted her for allegedly failing to file statements of assets and liabilities as required by law. Sereno denies the allegation and refused to participate in the vote.
They are not the only high-ranking women to be targeted by the controversial president. Senator Leila de Lima was imprisoned on drug charges that are widely thought to be politically motivated after she spoke out against Duterte’s deadly anti-drug campaign. Vice President Leni Robredo was sacked as housing czar and is facing an electoral protest filed by her rival in the 2016 polls, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Duterte has repeatedly been labelled a misogynist after making crude jokes and statements about women in his speeches and campaign rallies.
In February he ordered soldiers to shoot female rebel fighters “in the vagina.”
During his election campaign in 2016, speaking about the 1989 prison riot in which an Australian missionary was killed, and inmates had lined up to rape her, Duterte joked he wished he had the opportunity to rape her himself.
“Was I mad because of the rape? Yes, that’s one. But, she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste,” he said.
The Palace has denied that the president is a misogynist, with presidential spokesperson Harry Roque saying that “sometimes, these feminists are really a bit OA (overreacting).”