Duterte under fire for saying he ‘touched’ maid

Women’s advocates said Duterte’s latest comments endangered domestic workers. (File/AFP)
Updated 30 December 2018
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Duterte under fire for saying he ‘touched’ maid

  • In his latest remarks, Duterte 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
  • Duterte and his aides often dismiss his controversial statements about women as a “joke” or insist they are taken out of context

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drew outrage Sunday after saying he “touched” his maid when he was a teenager, with women’s rights groups accusing him of attempted rape and encouraging sexual abuse.
Duterte frequently sparks uproar with his comments on women, including rape jokes and boasting about adultery.
In his latest remarks, Duterte 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,” Duterte said in a speech late Saturday.
“I was touching. She woke up. So I left the room.”
Duterte 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 Duterte’s “repulsive” comments and called for him to resign, saying he had confessed to attempted rape.
“Rape does not happen only through penile insertion. If it is a finger or an object it is considered rape,” said Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela.
Duterte, 73, made the remarks as he blasted the Catholic Church over allegations of sexually abusing children.
The president, who brands the church the “most hypocritical institution” in the mainly Catholic nation, said 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, according to official figures.
Duterte and his aides often dismiss his controversial statements about women as a “joke” or insist they are taken out of context.
Duterte provoked fury in 2016 when during an election campaign speech he said he had wanted to rape a “beautiful” Australian missionary who had been murdered in a Philippine prison riot.
Women’s advocates said Duterte’s latest comments endangered domestic workers.
More than a million Filipinos work abroad as domestic workers, according to the labor ministry.
“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 spokesman had yet to respond to requests for comment.


India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

Indian National Congress party president Rahul Gandhi (C) gestures after laying a wreath to pay tribute on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh martyrs memorial in Amritsar on April 13, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 29 sec ago
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India holds ‘Super Tuesday’ vote

  • Rahul Gandhi is standing in Wayanad in Kerala state, taking a risk as south India is considered a stronghold of regional parties
  • This election is seen as a referendum on his five-year rule — which has seen impressive economic growth but not the jobs that the BJP promised

NEW DELHI: Indians are voting Tuesday in the third phase of the general elections with campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party and the opposition marred by bitter accusations and acrimony.
People lined up outside voting station at several places even before the polling started at 7 a.m.
The voting for 117 parliamentary seats in 13 states and two Union Territories on Tuesday means polls are half done for 543 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The voting over seven phases ends May 19, with counting scheduled for May 23.
The election is seen as a referendum on Modi’s five-year rule. He has adopted a nationalist pitch trying to win the majority Hindu votes by projecting a tough stance against Islamic neighbor Pakistan.
The opposition is challenging him for a high unemployment rate of 6.1% and farmers’ distress aggravated by low crop prices.
Modi is scheduled to vote on Tuesday in his western home state of Gujarat, though he is contesting for a parliamentary seat from Varanasi, a city in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The voting also is taking place in Wayanad constituency in southern Kerala state, one of the two seats from where opposition Congress party president, Rahul Gandhi, is contesting. His home bastion, Amethi, in Uttar Pradesh state will have polling on May 6. He will give up one seat if he wins from both places.
The voting is staggered to facilitate movement of security forces to oversee an orderly election and avoid vote fraud.
India’s autonomous Election Commission intervened last week to block hate speeches by imposing a temporary ban on campaigning by some top politicians across political parties.
Uttar Pradesh state chief minister Yogi Adityanath of Modi’s BJP was barred from campaigning, in the form of public meetings, road shows or media interviews, for three days for making anti-Muslim speeches. He said a Hindu god will ensure the BJP victory in elections, while the opposition was betting on Muslim votes.
Mayawati, a leader of Bahujan Samaj Party, was punished for 48 hours for appealing to Muslims to vote only for her party. India’s top court ordered strict action against politicians for religion and caste-based remarks.
Hindus comprise 80% and Muslims 16% of India’s 1.3 billion people. The opposition accuses the BJP of trying to polarize the Hindu votes in its favor.
Meenakshi Lekhi, a BJP leader, filed a contempt of court petition against Rahul Gandhi in the Supreme Court for misrepresenting a court order while accusing Modi of corruption in a deal to buy 36 French Rafale fighter aircraft. Modi denies the charge.
Modi has used Kashmir to pivot away from his economic record, playing up the threat of rival Pakistan, especially after the suicide bombing of a paramilitary convoy on Feb. 14 that killed 40 soldiers, in a bid to appear a strong, uncompromising leader on national security. The bombing brought nuclear rivals India and Pakistan close to the brink of war.
Opposition parties have consistently said that Modi and his party leaders are digressing from the main issues such as youth employment and farmers’ suicides.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the Himalayan territory in its entirety. Rebels have been fighting Indian control since 1989. Most Kashmiris support the rebels’ demand that the territory be united either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country, while also participating in civilian street protests against Indian control.