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.
Women's rights political party Gabriela denounced Duterte's "repulsive" comments and called for him to resign, saying he had confessed to attempted rape.
Responding to the criticism, Duterte's spokesman said Sunday that the president 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," said Salvador Panelo.
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.