MANILA • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte came under fire yesterday for making a second joke about rape, with Ms Chelsea Clinton leading online outrage and a rights group branding his sense of humour "sickening".
In a speech at a military camp last Friday aimed at lifting troops' spirits after he imposed martial law across the southern Philippines, Mr Duterte told them they were allowed to rape up to three women.
"I will be imprisoned for you. If you rape three (women), I will say that I did it. But if you marry four, son of a whore, you will be beaten up," he said.
Mr Duterte, who uses profanities regularly, also attracted controversy last year when, during an election campaign speech, he joked that he had wanted to rape a "beautiful" Australian missionary who had been murdered in a Philippine prison riot.
Ms Clinton joined many people on social media yesterday to criticise Mr Duterte, who has also carried out a war on drugs that has left thousands of people dead, with rights groups saying it may be a crime against humanity.
"Not funny. Ever," wrote the daughter of former United States president Bill Clinton and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton on her Twitter account. In a second post, she wrote: "Duterte is a murderous thug with no regard for human rights. It's important to keep pointing that out & that rape is never a joke."
Mr Phelim Kine, a deputy director with Human Rights Watch's Asian division, described the joke as a "sickening attempt at humour". He and Filipino rights activists warned that it sent the wrong signal to soldiers that they could commit rights abuses as they enforced martial law in the southern region of Mindanao, which Mr Duterte imposed to quell what he says is a major Islamist terrorist threat.