Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told martial law soldiers Friday that they could rape up to three women in what he claims was a joke.
He made the inappropriate and menacing comments as he emphasized to troops that they have his administration’s full support under the newly imposed regional martial law as Duterte continues to prosecute a violent reign of terror that he calls a “war on drugs” and “war on terror” with national police and vigilante death squads organized by Duterte’s government executing people in their homes and on the street.
The violence under Duterte’s regime has so far claimed 7,000 lives since he took office in the Philippines last June.
Duterte, who is known for using street slang and vulgar expressions in his speeches, made the rape comments in a joking manner during a speech at a military base Friday in order to lift the morale of soldiers tasked ostensibly with fighting what he says is the growing threat of Islamic extremism.
“For this martial law and the consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible. Just do your work. I will handle the rest,” Duterte said.
“I will go to prison for you. If you rape three (women), I will say that I did it.”
Duterte declared martial law on Tuesday across the southern Philippine region of Mindanao as a response to Islamic militants who went on a deadly rampage through a southern city and flew the black flags of the Islamic State group.
Duterte alleged that the militants were planning to institute an Islamic caliphate for the Islamic State across all of Mindanao, which is home to 20 million people, and that martial law was the only way to crush the insurrection.
Duterte, who is 72 years old, handily sweeped the country’s presidential elections last year by presenting himself as in touch with the frustrations of ordinary Filipinos, often using vulgar street language full of profanities.
During the presidential election Duterte revealed to voters that he has two mistresses and jokingly reassured taxpayers that he would not cost them much as president because he takes his mistresses to cheap, pay-by-the-hour motels for sex.
President Duterte has already courted controversy over inappropriate and vile rape comments when he actually said that he wanted to rape an Australian missionary who got stuck in a Filipino prison during a 1989 prison riot and was raped and murdered by the inmates.
“There was this Australian lay minister. When they took them out, I saw her face and I thought, ‘Son of a bitch. What a pity. They raped her! They all lined up!’ I was mad she was raped but she was so beautiful. I thought, ‘The mayor should have been first!'” Duterte said in April last year. (Duterte was the mayor at the time.)
The Australian and American ambassadors to Manila expressed their disdain for the rape comments, but Duterte reacted angrily to their condemnations and insisted that he was taken out of context.
The last time Duterte “made a joke” it was on the campaign trail when he “jokingly” told voters to open funeral parlour businesses because if he became president he would fill them with corpses. So far his government has summarily executed 7,000 people.
This is the guy who Donald Trump called a month ago to say, “You are a good man. Keep up the good work. You are doing an amazing job.”