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Who was Jacqueline Hamill, the subject of Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘rape joke’?

Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte triggered an online uproar after a video of him making a rape joke went viral over the weekend.

In the 60-second clip, Duterte can be heard recounting a 1989 hostage incident where Australian lay missionary Jacqueline Hamill died after being raped and mortally wounded by a gunshot. Duterte joked that he regretted not “getting there” first, which was widely interpreted to mean that he regretted not being able to have sex with Hamill. He later claimed that he is actually disappointed about not getting to the scene of the hostage crisis first.

At this point, it is essential to look back at the events that transpired almost thirty years ago based on three online sources: Chicago Tribune, Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), and Manila Standard.

jacqueline hamill

Based on the said news outlets, Jacqueline “Jackie” Hamill was a 36-year old Protestant missionary from the Christian City Church in Sydney, Australia. She arrived in Manila on July 15, 1989 as part of Joyful Assemblies of God, a group which organizes Bible studies inside prison facilities. She went to Davao two days after.

Less than a month later, the unthinkable happened. It was August 13 and the group just finished a Sunday worship service when 15 prisoners from the prison gang “Wild Boys of Davao” led by Felipe Pugoy and Mohammad Nazir Samparani disarmed the jail wardens on duty and took the missionaries as hostages.

1989 davao hostage crisis

Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill died in the aftermath of a 1989 hostage crisis in Davao

The stand-off only ended after two days when soldiers launched an assault. All 15 hostage-takers as well as five victims, Hamill included, were killed in the shootout. Based on the news reports, it was not immediately clear if the missionary died at the hands of her hostage-takers or if her death was caused by a friendly fire.

Hamill’s remains was flown to Manila two days later, with Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Marc Williams, Protocol Officer Conrado Vallejo, and Brig. Gen. Rogelio Estacio present at the Villamor Air Base when the body arrived.

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