Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte denounced Chelsea Clinton in a vulgar speech Wednesday for her criticism of remarks he made last week about rape.
Duterte made the rape comment in a speech aimed to show his full support for soldiers enforcing martial law in the southern Philippines. Duterte said he would take responsibility for any abuses committed by troops, even if they rape three women.
In response to Duterte's remarks about rape, Clinton, daughter of former U.S. President Bill Clinton, wrote on Twitter, "Not funny. Ever."
In lashing out at Chelsea Clinton, Duterte said that he was simply being sarcastic. Using a string of expletives, he asked if Clinton had reacted in the same way when her father had an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Duterte also said American forces had raped women in the Philippines and Japan.
President Duterte declared martial law in the southern Philippines last week after militants laid siege to the city of Marawi, on Mindanao island. The trouble started after the militants clashed with troops who were pursuing wanted terrorist Isnilon Hapilon, the Philippine head of the Islamic State group. Duterte has vowed to take harsh measures against militants and warned that he might expand martial law nationwide.
Duterte’s use of martial law has raised concerns among human rights groups, who have accused him of ordering security forces to kill thousands of people as part of his crackdown on illicit drugs.
The southern Philippines, particularly the resource-rich but poverty-wracked Mindanao region, has long been a hotbed of activity by fundamentalist groups.