Manila, December 30: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, known for his brash remarks, sparked a row claiming that he had "touched" his maid during teenage days. The Opposition, along with rights' group, launched a fresh offensive against Duterte, calling for his resignation as head of the state.
Women's rights political party Gabriela said the remarks of Duterte amount to his admission of "attempt to rape". With such a serious offence, a person cannot hold the coveted post of President, the outfit said in its statement. Philippines' 'Politically Incorrect' President Rodrigo Duterte Jokes about Cannabis Use.
Duterte issued the latest contentious remark while taking jibes at the Catholic Church on Saturday. In an attempt to deride "confessions" at the Church, the President narrated how he once told a priest that he entered into the room where his maid was sleeping.
"I lifted the blanket... I tried to touch what was inside the panty...I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room," Duterte said while lambasting the Church over the recent child sexual abuse allegations.
Condemning his remarks, rights' groups said the President has revealed yet another "perverted" sign of him. They also claimed that it would encourage molestation and sexual harassment of those who are economically and socially downtrodden.
"Flaunting abusive practices encourages the rape culture and in this case, sexual abuse of domestic workers," said Jean Enriquez, executive director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific.
Duterte's spokespersons, however, downplayed the remark claiming that the President had "made up and spliced" his account in a bid to take a sarcastic jibe against the Catholic Church.
Duterte, 73, has emerged as one of the strongest opponents of the Catholic Church. His hatred against the institution is primarily rooted in their scathing criticism of his anti-drug campaign. 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.