Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has come under fire for making a joke about rape, according to reports on Saturday. “If you had raped three, I will admit it, that’s on me,” Duterte said at a press conference referring to soldiers deployed under martial law in the Mindanao region where the army is fighting insurgent Islamist groups.
Duterte made the comment on Friday after warning the uniformed men that they must not commit abuses, Efe news reported.
It is not the first time that Duterte has joked about rape; in April 2016 during the successful presidential election campaign, he made a joke about Australian missionary worker Jaqueline Hamill, who was gang raped and killed in a riot in a Philippines prison in Davao in 1989, when Duterte was the city’s mayor. Duterte said he regretted he could not be the first one to have a go at the young woman.
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“I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, the mayor should have been first,” the then-presidential candidate said. Duterte later apologised for the comment. “There was no intention of disrespecting our women and those who have been victims of this horrible crime. Sometimes my mouth can get the better of me,” he added. Duterte is also known for publicly insulting personalities such as the former US President Barack Obama whom he, in September 2016, called “son of a whore” for being reluctant to meet him.