President Duterte has finally signed the Safe Spaces Act or the Bawal Bastos Law.
The Safe Spaces Act is essential to a country where someone is raped every hour. This newly signed law prevents catcallers, sexual harassers, and basically men like the President from getting away with their vulgar actions—whether offline or online. Or else, face the consequences.
Read more: Five things we learned from Duterte’s unnecessary “talk show”
Those found guilty of violating the new law will have to pay fines ranging from P1,000 to P100,000, and face imprisonment for a month. Online and offline sexual harassment are also considered violations. Those found guilty will be fined from P100,000 to P500,000, and serve four to six months of jail time.
So, sorry Panelo, he’s not the poster child of the Bawal Bastos Law. He’s more of a walking “‘huwag tularan” sign, if anything.
During the conference for the Safe Spaces Act on July 16, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo boasted that the President, a self-proclaimed womanizer, will be the first to obey this law.
“When he cracks jokes, it was intended to make people laugh. Never to offend. If you will just listen to the jokes of the President, talagang matatawa ka eh. Hindi naman bastos,” says Panelo in defense of the President, whom Senator Risa Hontiveros, the author of the said law, once called a champion of misogyny.
Read more: Is President Duterte an ally or an enemy of the LGBTQ+ community?
We’re talking about a guy who called women bitches at a gender equality event. So, sorry Panelo, he’s not the poster child of the Bawal Bastos Law. He’s more of a walking “‘huwag tularan” sign, if anything. So thank you Sen. Hontiveros for pushing for this necessary law. As for the President, thanks for signing it, we guess.
We’re pretty damn sure that he already broke 70 percent of the Safe Spaces Act by now. But in case you’re having amnesiac spells, here are all the times the President defined what it means to be bastos.
Wolf-whistling at a reporter on live television
He once answered GMA reporter Mariz Umali through unsolicited flirting and wolf-whistling, claiming it was an innocent gesture. As a man, it’s apparently something he can’t help but do. “I was exasperated by the question. Whistling is not a sexual thing,” he told to the press, before wolf-whistling again.
“Some jokes are funny and should be laughed at… but disrespecting women is definitely not one of them,” Umali’s partner Raffy Tima defended through a Facebook post.
Objectifying the Vice President shamelessly
During Super Typhoon Yolanda’s third anniversary, President Duterte recounts how much he enjoys working with or, as he puts it, seeing Vice President Leni Robredo. That’s cute, right? Well, not when he objectified her legs. He even invited men to ogle with him.
“Kasi si Ma’am Leni, medyo shorter than usual ’yung damit na ano gano’n. Siguro nahalata ng mga protocol officer kasi sige ako sa likod. Si Sonny Dominguez naman, sabi ko, ‘Ang layo mo, dito tayo ‘lika,’ sabi ko. ‘Tingnan mo ’yung… tuhod ni [Leni],” he told the people of Tacloban.
Read more: The ways Duterte is following a dictator’s footsteps
This wasn’t the first and last time he objectified VP Robredo. As he ran for the presidency, Duterte commented he wants Robredo to be his “assistant president” since she’s “beautiful.” Gross.
Making homophobic and transphobic comments
The President is also not above calling someone gay to demean them. For instance, take his statement on the senatorial candidate and former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. He tried to smear Hilbay’s campaign by saying he “filled his office with homosexuals.”
Let this be a reminder—this law exists because powerful men like him are relentless.
“He acts like a man and pretends that [actress] Agot [Isidro] is his girlfriend. Be true to yourself. You’re gay. Don’t hide behind a cover. You were made by God. God made a mistake. Just because he’s God does not mean he is incapable of making mistakes,” he jeered at a campaign event.
He loves using “gay” as a slur. As PinkNews reported, he claims most rebel fighters are gay and prisons turn people gay. He loves making transphobic comments, too. In the same event, he asked if human rights lawyer Chel Diokno was “a man or a woman.”
Read more: The Duterte Youth Really Gotta Chill
Molesting a maid as a teenager
Before 2018 ended, President Duterte confessed a, well, confession he made to a priest about sexually assaulting their maid when he was younger. “I lifted the blanket, I tried to touch what was inside the panties. I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room,” he recounted the story to the press.
“Touching, pinching, or brushing against the genitalia, face, arms, anus, groin, breasts, inner thighs, face, buttocks, or any part of the victim’s body” is a third-degree violation of the Safe Spaces Act that will result in four months of jail time and pay a P100,000 fine. Panelo covered up this incident by saying the President “purposely added and spliced the story with vulgarity” to make his anecdote funnier.
“He never was bastos,” Panelo defended Duterte for the nth time. Sorry, he always has been bastos. Let this be a reminder—this law exists because powerful men like him are relentless. They wolf-whistle, shamelessly objectify, and act upon their urges when they feel like it.
Let’s hope Duterte won’t be Safe Spaces Act’s first violator. Then again, that’s something we highly doubt.