If Duterte–the Philippines’ outspoken president– was to be believed, he was once gay but cured himself. Well, it should be well documented now, that Rodrigo Duterte is not a man to mince his words. He well accustomed to criticisms for his outrageous claims, but this one may be the best yet.
The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, hinted on Thursday at an event in Tokyo that he was once gay but that he has already been “cured”.
During an event with the Filipino community in Tokyo as part of his official visit to Japan, Duterte mocked a political opponent, Senator Antonio Trillanes, and said that his body movements “show he is gay.”
“The good thing is that Trillanes and I are similar, but I was cured,” said the president quoted by Rappler, a Philippine media critical of his government. He also commented that he made the decision to “go back to being a man” after meeting his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman. He later added: “I do not care if I’m gay or not.”
It is not the first time that the Philippine president has made a comment of this style. In December of 2017 he said jokingly that he considered becoming bisexual to “enjoy both ways” but “that did not happen”.
During his tenure, Duterte has changed his position on the rights of the LGBT community in his country. Before being elected as president in 2016, he undertook to legalize gay marriage. But then he withdrew his support for that possibility, arguing that the Philippine civil code states that “a man can only marry a woman and a woman can only marry a man.”
In addition, after his speech in Tokyo, Duterte invited four women chosen by him to take the stand to kiss them, almost a year after the controversial kiss on the lips of a Filipina in Seoul who outraged the feminist movement in her country.
“First, you should not be married, second, you can not be a minor, so, ma’am, do you want a kiss?” Duterte snapped at the audience.
He then invited four women to the podium, which he selected from the public, with similar features: young, slender, light skin and long hair, according to reports from CNN Philippines on Friday. “It’s your thanks to me, I want a lip kiss, any volunteer?” Warned the controversial president, 74 years old.
The first woman hesitated a few seconds on whether to kiss the president on the lips or cheek, but finally opted for the latter, an example followed by the other three.
The episode took place before the eyes of the president’s partner, Honeylet Avanceña, whom he referred to as his “first lady” during the event; his best friend and special ex-adviser, Senator Bong Go; and the presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, who documented the four kisses with photographs taken with his mobile.
“Now let’s go look for the widows,” quipped Duterte after inviting more women to kiss him without success.
During his two-hour speech, the president recalled the kiss on his lips that he gave last year to a Filipina in Seoul, an image that went around the world. “There was no malice, I just kissed her, I’m tired of criticism,” said Duterte, a womanizer known for his frequent sexist and misogynistic comments.
The president said on Thursday that “beautiful women” helped him “cure himself of being homosexual” and on Sunday he repeated several jokes about rape and sexual abuse at the graduation ceremony of police cadets.
In the past, Duterte asserted that men are better prepared than women for important positions of government; he encouraged the military to shoot in the “vagina” of the guerrillas; and offered “42 virgins” to tourists traveling to the Philippines.