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Official: Laws and women are to be raped

Oct. 5, 2012 at 7:50 PM

MADRID, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Spanish official said his resignation Friday, four days after he got the job, was not tied to his remark, "Laws are like women -- they are there to be raped."

"No one has asked for my resignation," Jose Manuel Castelao Bragana, 71, told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

"I have a personal situation, so I cannot take the job," he said. "It has nothing to do with what happened, although it is true that it all adds up."

Castelao was appointed president of the General Council of Spanish Citizens Abroad, part of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Monday.

On Tuesday, a board motion requiring 10 votes to formalize a document had only nine.

"It's OK. Are there nine votes? Put 10. Laws are like women -- they are there to be raped," Castelao told the board members and other government officials and visitors, mostly women.

Board member Ana Maria Navarro, representing Venezuela, told the newspaper she and other board members, including delegates from the Council of Foreign Citizenship, were shocked by Castelao's comment.

"It was an absurd and unfortunate phrase -- even more so coming from a personality like him, the president of a body," she said.

Members of the country's education and culture committee drafted a letter, signed by them and other delegates, demanding a public apology.

Castelao -- a member of Spain's ruling conservative People's Party and a former deputy of northwest Spain's Galician Parliament -- said his comment was misunderstood.

"I don't share the sense of that [offensive] sentence, and that is not the sense I wanted to give. I quoted that sentence, I recognize it, but in the opposite sense, although I cannot blame another for a responsibility that is mine," he told El Pais.

"I'm very sorry. I deeply regret what happened. And doubly, for those who heard it -- most of them women -- because I caused them pain, and for me, because I built a 'building' that is falling down on top of me," he said.

Francisco Ruiz Vazquez, Castelao's predecessor and one of the delegates representing Switzerland, said Castelao "apologized, but did not say clearly why.

"It is a sad statement," Ruiz said. "Such a person is not able to be in a forum that brings men and women together. Keep in mind that this has come out of the mouth of a person who represents Spaniards abroad. It is an outrage that not only cannot be said, but is unthinkable."

Castelao was replaced by a woman, Marina del Corral, the agency's vice president.

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