Philippines' Duterte under fire for saying he 'touched' sleeping maid

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte rings one of the three Balangiga church bells during a ceremony in Balangiga in Eastern Samar province on Dec. 15 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, fond of recounting all manner of unseemly and occasionally horrific behavior, has topped himself with an admission that he molested a maid in the service of his family while he was a teen, according to multiple reports.

The episode was included in Duterte's speech which was largely devoted to criticizing the Catholic church for its own sexual abuses.

"I have no doubt that, with our patriotic fervor and with our solidarity as a people, we can overcome the challenges that impede our continued march towards a more prosperous and progressive future", he said.

He told the priest that he'd then gone to the bathroom for the "usual" - assumedly a reference to masturbation - before returning to the maid's room and attempting to "insert my finger".

Women and women's rights political groups immediately denounced Duterte's "repulsive" comments, as many pointed out that his actions constituted attempted rape.

"I lifted the blanket", Duterte, 73, said. "So I left the room".

Mr Duterte said the priest told him to say "five Our Fathers, five Hail Mary's, because you will go to hell", according to news website Rappler.

In his latest remarks, he recounted a confession he had with a priest in high school, detailing how he had entered the room of his maid while she was sleeping. And workers' rights groups have warned that the president's comments could potentially put women, particularly domestic workers, at risk. "He has proven himself unworthy of his position and should resign", the party said in a statement. "The Church has, on numerous occasions, red-flagged the "gross human rights' violations" committed by the Duterte regime in his" war against drugs" - which has claimed over 5,000 lives so far.

In 2016, Duterte, then a presidential hopeful, joked about the 1989 rape and murder of an Australian missionary in Davao City, saying that as the jurisdiction's mayor, he should've been "first" in line. Recently, Duterte threatened to behead an outspoken Catholic bishop who led street protests against the president's drug war.

At the time he told the audience "it's true" but the President's office defended his confession, calling it a laughable anecdote that he made up.

When he confessed this to a priest at school, he alleged that he was touched sexually.

Responding to the criticisms raining down from all sides, the spokesman Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that the president had "invented" and "spicy" story.



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