Who laughs at a rape joke? Illiberal Responsiveness in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines

Nicole CURATO, Jonathan Corpus Ong

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


When a presidential contender makes a joke about lusting over a dead Australian missionary, one could expect that this candidate would not go very far; but not in the year 2016. Dubbed as ‘the year of voting dangerously,’ the Philippines rode the tide of global discontent and gave landslide victory to the controversial Rodrigo Duterte. We argue that part of Duterte’s electoral success is a form of responsiveness that speaks to the injuries a frustrated public had to endure over years of a reform-oriented, technocratic yet often callous politicians associated to Duterte’s predecessor and other ‘progressive’ political elites. This form of responsiveness, however, takes an illiberal character—a kind of selective responsiveness that restores the esteem of many, but simultaneously thrives by denying the humanity of others.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthical Responsiveness and the Politics of Difference
EditorsTanja Dreher, Anshuman A. Mondal
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783319939582
ISBN (Print)9783319939575
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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