Updated Dec 31, 2018, 4:13:00 AM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 30) — The presidential spokesperson said President Rodrigo Duterte's story about an incident of a supposed encounter between him and a household helper was just "made up."
In a statement on Sunday, Panelo said the President made 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."
"He purposely added and spliced the story with vulgarity to characterise the behavior of the priest who insisted to hear more sins during their confessions when there were none," Panelo said.
The presidential spokesperson then scored a women's rights group for criticizing the President, saying they have lost the ability to tell truth from "a rebuke on the hypocrisy of the priests who molested him and his classmates when they were high school students."
READ: "The President will not discard his shocking and amusing out of the box utterances that have been his political signature, which has endeared him to the masses, and which he finds effective in transmitting to the nation his political and social dogmas." – Macalañang pic.twitter.com/hBYVciZWhU
— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) December 30, 2018
Speaking at an event in Kidapawan City Saturday, Duterte recalled his confession to a priest at the Ateneo high school where he revealed a sexual experience he had with a household helper who was asleep.
Of the issue, rights group Gabriela issued a statement Sunday saying the President's words were "deeply disturbing" called the incident a "crime."
"This statement about his crime as a young man is only the latest in his countless statements bragging about flagrantly committing crimes against women and the people," they said.
Panelo dismissed the criticisms, saying the methods used by the President to highlight what he called "hypocritical practices of those men in religious cloak" were unorthodox and mischievous.
'While the telling of the concocted story triggers laughter on his audience, the message that the President intends to convey is not lost on his listeners. The President will not discard his shocking and amusing out-of-the-box utterances that have been his political signature, which has endeared him to the masses, and which he finds effective in transmitting to the nation his political and social dogmas," Panelo said.