Duterte signs law against catcalling

Philippine president-elect Rodrigo Duterte speaks as cabinet members look on during a press conference in Davao. (AFP pic)

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made controversial remarks about rape and women, approved a law penalising sexist remarks and catcalling.

The law imposing fines and jail time for sexual harassment in public and on the Internet “does not apply” to the president, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said on Tuesday.

“When he cracks jokes, it is intended to make people laugh, never to offend,” he said, adding that Duterte respects women and that he’s never lewd.

During his election campaign in 2016, Duterte made light of the rape and murder of an Australian missionary.

Last year, he told soldiers to shoot female communist rebels in the vagina, and months later kissed a Filipino migrant worker in South Korea.

At the military academy in May, Duterte said he would pardon all the crimes of the graduating students, including rape.