Philippines president jokes about sexual assault in speech to soldiers

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ILIGAN, PHILIPPINES—President Rodrigo Duterte made a joke about rape as he urged soldiers to use the powers of martial law to take control of a besieged city in the southern Philippines.

In the speech Friday, Duterte said he will pay the consequences if any soldiers are accused of abuses.

Read more: Philippine troops attack Daesh-linked extremists in besieged city of Marawi

He said: “I will go to jail for you. If you happen to have raped three women, I will own up to it.”

On Tuesday, Duterte imposed 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines as government forces battle militants in Marawi, a city of some 200,000 people.

Duterte is unapologetic about his manner of speech and liberally peppers casual statements with profanities.