The president of the Philippines claims he used to be gay but that he was ‘cured’ by beautiful women.
President Rodrigo Duterte, 74, began a speech in Japan on Thursday by telling the crowd his critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was ‘similar’ to him because they were both gay.
But, he said, he was ‘cured’ by beautiful women who helped him ‘become a man again’ when he married his first wife Elizabeth Zimmerman.
Speaking to the Filipino community in Japan he invited three attractive women standing at the side of the room to take empty seats at the front.
He went on to say someone gay had told him that based on the senator’s movements, his critic Trillanes is homosexual, Rappler reported.
“I said, “Are you sure?” They said, “You ask any gay person who sees Trillanes move, they’ll say he’s gay.” No wonder. Good thing Trillanes and I are similar. But I cured myself,” he said.
He added: “‘When I began a relationship with Zimmerman, I said, this is it. I became a man again.”
Elizabeth Zimmerman, 71, was married to President Duterte from 1973 until 2000 and they had two children together.
At the speech his long-term girlfriend Honeylet Avanceña, 49, sat behind him.
As he invited the women up he explained he was only looking for unmarried women of an appropriate age.
He said: “First you shouldn’t be married okay. Second you are not a minor. You ma’am. You want a smooch?
“Those four come here. Let them come up. Let them in.”
Duterte has previously used terms like ‘bakla’ and ‘bayot’ – meaning gay – as insults towards his political enemies.
He has been inconsistent with his views on gay marriage. In 2017 he said under Filipino law marriage was only between a man and a woman.
By the end of the same year he told an LGBT gathering he thinks the law can change to allow same-sex marriage.
During Thursday’s speech Duterte professed his love for Ms Avanceña, calling her his ‘one and only’.
The couple met in 1998 when she was runner-up of Mutya ng Dabaw – an annual beauty pageant – and he was a first-term mayor of Davao City.