Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte jokes about rape while rallying troops to fight militants

"The consequences of martial law and the ramifications of martial law, I and I alone would be responsible. Just do your jobs, I'll take care of the rest," he told his soldiers on Friday while visiting Iligan City in the country's Mindanao region.

He then warned against committing human rights violations, before joking: "If you rape three people, I will admit that I did it."

Duterte says he had to declare martial law to fight ISIS in Mindanao

"I had to declare martial law in the Mindanao group of islands," Duterte said at a news conference Wednesday. "It is our constitutional duty to enforce the law and provide security."

Duterte's order -- which covers both the city of Marawi and the wider island of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part -- came after deadly clashes broke out between Filipino government troops and Islamist militants Tuesday.

If the terror threat spreads, Duterte said he's not afraid to go further.

Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao amid clashes

ISIS' media wing, Amaq Agency, put out a statement announcing that "fighters of the Islamic State launch a wide-scale offensive on positions of Philippine troops in the city of Marawi."

Speaking from Moscow, Philippines Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said that the violence in Mindanao, one of the Philippines' southernmost islands, was Duterte's priority, despite the high-profile visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

"(The Russians) understand that the security of the Filipino people, especially in Marawi and in Mindanao, is a priority," Cayetano said.

Philippines' Duterte looks to strengthen ties with trip to Moscow

Under Duterte, who took office in June 2016, the Philippines has made overtures toward Beijing and Moscow -- seeing the countries as a source of much-needed investment -- and away from the US.

In a pre-departure speech Monday, Duterte hailed the visit as the "writing of a new chapter in the Philippines-Russia relationship," describing it as a chance to "correct" the "strategic oversight" of previous Filipino leaders.

Ex-Davao Death Squad leader: Duterte ordered bombings

In a news briefing Monday morning, retired policeman Arturo Lascanas backed up 2016 allegations made by former hitman Edgar Matobato, including claims of a 300-member execution squad run out of the southern city of Davao.

"I was one of those who started it," he said. "We implemented the personal instructions of (then-Mayor) Duterte to us. All of the killings we did in Davao city, whether we buried or threw them out to sea."

Philippines' Duterte to US: 'Do not make us your dogs'

Giving a speech at the airport in Manila just before he departed for an official visit to Japan, the controversial leader once again took aim at his country's longest-standing international ally. His speech echoed comments he made a week ago in Beijing, in which he pronounced the end of his country's relationship with the US, saying "America has lost."