Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said president Rodrigo Duterte 'made up' the story of him molesting a domestic worker when he was a teenager. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Presidential Communications Operations Office
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has set a nine-hour overnight curfew on Manila to help combat the spread of the virus. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Presidential Communications Operations Office

The presidential spokesperson said Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte “made up” the story about molesting a domestic worker when he was a teenager.

On December 29, Duterte said in a speech in Kidapawan City that he went into a domestic worker’s room while she was asleep and touched her inappropriately.

Duterte said he confessed the incident to a priest at the Catholic school he was attending. However, instead of getting help from the priest, Duterte claimed he was molested by him. He did not specify what kind of abuse he allegedly experienced.

However, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president made up the anecdote to dramatize sexual abuse that was inflicted on Duterte and fellow students when they were in high school, CNN Philippines reported.

“He purposely added and spliced the story with vulgarity to characterize the behavior of the priest who insisted (on hearing about) more sins during their confessions when there were none,” Panelo said.

Gabriela, a women’s group, slammed the president’s speech and said it was “deeply disturbing” that he was bragging about touching and attempting to rape a domestic worker when he was young.

“This statement about his crime as a young man is only the latest in his countless statements bragging about flagrantly committing crimes against women and the people,” the group said in a statement.

In June 2018, the president was heavily criticized by women’s groups after he publicly kissed an overseas Filipino worker on the lips during a three-day visit to South Korea. He also reportedly asked the woman whether she was single.

Read: Duterte says he ‘touched’ domestic worker in his teens

Read: Duterte cops some lip on Twitter for kissing woman on stage