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Philippines’ Duterte under fire for saying he ‘touched’ maid

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MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drew outrage yesterday after saying that he had "touched" his maid when he was a teen, with women's rights groups accusing him of attempted rape and encouraging sexual abuse.

Mr Duterte frequently sparks uproar with his comments on women, including rape jokes and boasting about adultery.

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.

"I lifted the blanket... I tried to touch what was inside the panty," Mr Duterte said on Saturday.

He recounted telling the priest that he had then returned to the maid's room and again tried to molest her.

Women's rights political party Gabriela denounced Mr Duterte's "repulsive" comments and called for him to resign, saying he had confessed to attempted rape.

Mr Duterte made the remarks while blasting the Catholic Church over allegations of sexually abusing children.

The 73-year-old, who brands the church the "most hypocritical institution" in the mainly Catholic nation, said on Saturday that he and his classmates at school were molested during confession.

It was his latest tirade against bishops and priests who have been critical of his drug war, which has left more than 5,000 people dead.

Mr Duterte and his aides often dismiss his controversial statements about women as a "joke" or insist they are taken out of context.

Women's advocates said his latest comments endangered domestic workers.

More than a million Filipinos work abroad as domestic workers, according to the labour ministry. - AFP

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