Continuing his anti-Catholic Church rhetoric, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte questioned their "ascendancy" to criticise his drug war, a day after he challenged Catholic priests to try crystal meth to understand the problem of narcotic addiction.

In response to criticism by some churches in the country over the drug killings, the self-confessed foul-mouthed leader hurled abuses at them, citing cases of alleged sexual molestation and corruption involving priests.

"You expose me, fine. I expose you. Why? When you commit mistakes, it's okay but when we do, no? B******t. That's stupid," the firebrand leader said during the oath taking of newly promoted police officials at his official residence – the Malacañang Palace – on Thursday (19 January).

The former Davao city mayor, who revealed in 2016 that he was physically molested by a priest when he was young, said: "If you cannot even give justice to the small boys that you have molested in the past, you do not have that moral ascendancy to lecture (me) on what to do. Sanctity of life? You're enjoying your worth.

"When we were making confessions to you, we were being molested," the president said. He then raised the issues of homosexual acts allegedly taking place inside seminaries and slammed the churches over their failure to take action.

"What will you do with the homosexuality in your seminaries? What have you done to the children there? Did you investigate us? You fools," he said, adding: "You are in palaces while your faithful are in squatters areas and then you talk about sanctity? Look at your mirror.

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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte hurled abuses at Catholic churches in the country, accusing them of sexual molestation of young boys and corruption - File photo Reuters

"What is your moral ascendancy in the Philippines? Religion? What is the meaning of it? You do not help us. You just keep on talking," Duterte further said, accusing the Catholic churches of not spending donation money for the betterment of the 80% Catholic population of the Philippines.

"What did the church do? The Catholic Church earns millions every week all throughout the Philippines. There are many churches. Where is the money of the people?

"We [Government] explain how we use our funds to the people. You? Priests and bishops, you wear fancy clothes, you have vehicles. Do you have a house, even with just five rooms, for rehab? What did your church do?

"You count money instead of going around the neighborhoods, explaining to the people why they should not be in [the drug] industry because they will die. Now you want the killings to end? All you have to do is to preach because most of the people here are Catholics," Duterte said in response to criticism of his anti-drugs campaign, which has so far seen the deaths of almost 6000 alleged drug users and traders.

Duterte also brought up an old issue during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, when many bishops were alleged to have sought luxury vehicles from the then president.

"Remember you asked vehicles from Gloria? Knowing fully well that the policemen have no vehicles. You had Pajero, you sons of b******," the president said.

"You were given vehicles knowing that there is a principle of separation between Church and State. It was sheer, purely graft and corruption because you did not deserve it. You cannot use property or money for your comfort. That is not for you but for the government but you had the gall," The Philippines Star quoted him as saying.