Fly buzzes Duterte as he attacks Philippine priests | AFP

A fly that interrupted his speech was working under the orders of priests, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte joked Tuesday, as he launched a new verbal attack on the country’s influential Catholic church.

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The Philippines: Detained senator Leila de Lima casts her vote

Detained Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, casts her vote in an election where some 61 million are registered to cast ballots. More than 18,000 positions are at stake, including half of the seats in the upper house Senate, which has served as a bulwark against some of Duterte’s most controversial policies. IMAGES

Philippines journalist Ressa posts bail after libel charge

Veteran Philippine journalist Maria Ressa is granted bail after being arrested on a cyber libel charge. Her news website Rappler has drawn the Philippine government’s ire since publishing reports critical of Duterte’s signature anti-drug crackdown.

Duterte dismisses an offer to buy ‘utterly useless’ F-16 fighter jets

The outspoken president of The Philippines has dismissed an offer to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets – saying buying them would be “utterly useless”. Rodrigo Duterte made the offer, signed by Washington’s top brass, public during a military ceremony. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9cyr

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Duterte effigy up in flames as protesters march on Marawi siege anniversary

Hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the presidential palace in Manila, Wednesday, to denounce Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on the first anniversary of the Marawi siege and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

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The Philippines Could Be The Last Country To Legalize Divorce (HBO)

The Philippines is the only country in the world — besides Vatican City, the city-state of the Roman Catholic Church — where divorce is illegal.

Lawmakers are working to change that.

The Philippine Senate is back in session this week, and it’s considering a bill that would legalize divorce. The country’s House of Representatives approved the bill back in March.

But it’s far from a guarantee. Most Filipinos remain split on the issue. A special report from March found that 53 percent of Filipinos are in favor of legalizing divorce, with 32 percent against it, and 15 percent undecided.

There are two other major obstacles: President Rodrigo Duterte and the Catholic Church.

Thus far, Duterte has dodged questions about his stance on the issue, though his spokesperson said he’s against divorce. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has been pulling out all the stops.

Congresswomen Pia Cayetano, one of the authors of the new bill, said the Church’s influence is the main reason why divorce still isn’t legal. She worries the powerful religious organization will go all out to keep it that way.

She felt the Church’s wrath in 2012, when she voted for a bill that allowed free access to contraception.

“My name was mentioned in Church as you know whatever messenger of the demon.” Cayetano recalls. “We have a very strong and influential Catholic Church and a lot of politicians, a lot of legislators tend to be concerned about what views the Church has.”

The Philippines remains a deeply Catholic country — more than 80 percent of the population identify as Catholic, and many rely on it for education and social services.

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Burning Duterte: Filipinos torch effigy of president to mark Labor Day

Around 5,000 workers and activists from various groups held a rally to protest what they say is the failure of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to fulfill a major campaign promise to end all contractualisation, the widespread practice of short-term employment.

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Filipino Catholics protest divorce laws and Duterte’s drug war

Around 2,000 Roman Catholic Filipinos protested in Manila on Saturday against a push to legalise divorce, with church groups also using the “Walk for Life” march to slam President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drugs war. IMAGES AND SOUNDBITES

‘Racket has to stop’: Duterte bulldozes luxury cars to send message to smugglers

Smuggled luxury cars were on Tuesday crushed to mangled steel and shards of glass by the Philippine Bureau of Customs as President Rodrigo Duterte watched from the sidelines. The order came from Duterte as a deterrent to smuggling in the country. Some 20 smuggled cars, amounting to a value of $1.2mn, were run over by a bulldozer at the destruction site in Manila.

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President Duterte visits Philippine volcano disaster zone

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte flies to the central city of Legazpi to assess the disaster zone and meet local authorities, some two weeks after the country’s most active volcano began belching spectacular but potentially lethal ash columns, lava and rocks. IMAGES

FILE: Philippines’ Duterte seeks martial law extension for south

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asks Congress to extend martial law across the southern third of the country until the end of next year to combat Islamist militants and communists. FILE IMAGES of troops in Marawi