Duterte’s Polemic Against the Catholic Church as Hate Speech


This study examines thirteen speeches of President Rodrigo Duterte that contain lines, paragraphs, and expletives directed against the Roman Catholic Church, to determine if they are forms of hate speech. These speeches were delivered from August 2016, two months after he assumed office, up to May 2017. These rhetorical resources were directed toward the Church and its clergy, which criticized Duterte’s war on drugs, and they have been analyzed using a modified version of the dangerous speech framework of the U.S.-based Dangerous Speech Project (Benesch, 2013), which has five rhetorical elements: speaker, content and its context, audience, medium, and response. This study defines hate speech as a speech that attacks personal dignity, dehumanizes groups, incites discrimination, advocates hostility, creates a social wedge, and imputes a crime.