Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Admits Molesting Maid as Teenager

President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte listens during the ASEAN-China summit on the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit on November 14, 2018. Duterte caused outrage after saying he "touched" his maid when he was a teenager while she slept. Ore Huiying/Getty Images

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is facing calls to resign following "deeply disturbing" comments in which he casually admitted touching one of his family's maids when he was a teenager.

Duterte, who has a history of making flippant remarks about rape and sexual assault, made the claim during a speech at the distribution of Certificates of Land Ownership Award ceremony in Cotabato, while recounting a confession he made to a priest

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The president described how he entered the rooms of one of his maids while she was sleeping.

"I lifted the blanket...I tried to touch what was inside the panty," Duterte said, reports Agency-France Presse.

"I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room." Duterte added he told the priest he returned to the room and once again attempted to assault the maid.

Women's rights political party Gabriela have now called on the president to stand down over the comments, accusing him of admitting to attempted rape.

"It is deeply disturbing even for Duterte to brag about attempting to rape a maid when he was a minor," Gabrials said in a statement, reports The Philippine Star.

"The maniac in Malacañang has proven that he had no qualms violating the rights of women, people of lower stature and viewed them as his own personal toy.

"This latest confession has brought shame not only on himself but on the entire nation that trusted him to lead judiciously and righteously. He has proven himself unworthy of his position and should resign."

Responding to the criticism, Duterte's spokesman Salvador Panelo had "made up" and "added and spliced" the story.

"He has made up a laughable anecdote to dramatize the fact of sexual abuse that was inflicted on him and his fellow students when they were in high school," Panelo said.

Elsewhere in the speech, Duterte continued his attacks against the Catholic Church, suggesting it should deal with its allegations of child abuse before telling him how to run the country.

Priests and bishops in the church have been critical of Duterte's ongoing "war on drugs" in the country which has left thousands dead.

"To the priests, don't meddle too much," Duterte said, reports Bloomberg. He added the church "has to correct itself" before it can criticize others. "If not, I will really be their enemy and I will continue to attack them."