The president of the Philippines told a crowd in Japan he used to be gay but was cured by ‘beautiful women’ – before inviting four women on stage to kiss him.
President Rodrigo Duterte, 74, began his speech 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 had actually been ‘cured’ by beautiful women and ‘became a man again’ when he married his first wife Elizabeth Zimmerman, according to CNN Philippines.
Beginning his speech in front of 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.
But it was his long-term girlfriend Honeylet Avanceña, 49, who sat behind him as he finished his speech by inviting four women on stage to receive a kiss on the cheek.
As he invited them 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.
This is despite also saying the bible should recognise homosexuality.
He is also inconsistent with his views on gay marriage. In 2017 he said under Filipino law marriage was only between a man and a woman.
But 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.