'Stay out'

A leading candidate for the Philippines presidency has told Australia to "stay out" of the campaign after criticism of his outburst on the rape and killing of an Australian missionary.

Rodrigo Duterte was condemned for joking that he should have been first in line to rape the missionary before her 1989 murder.

Mr Duterte was the mayor of Davao at the time of a prison riot in which a 36-year-old woman who was visiting the jail, was taken hostage, raped and killed. Four other hostages were killed in the incident.

A YouTube video appeared over the weekend showing Mr Duterte speaking at a rally telling supporters that inmates had lined up to rape her and it was a "waste" because as mayor, he should have been first.

Australia's Ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely, has joined those condemning the comments by tweeting that rape and murder should never be joked about or trivialised.

It follows a statement by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, saying: "Australia strongly condemns such comments that make light of rape, which is a violent crime."

Mr Duterte has now responded by saying: "Stay out, Australian Government, stay out".

The controversy is major news in the Philippines, with Mr Duterte's opponents saying his campaign has been effectively destroyed.

But Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes said it was hard to tell if the presidential candidate's statements would change his standing.

"The people who are affected (by his rape jokes) are the ones who do not support Duterte," he said.

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