During speech, Philippines president says he is ex-gay, then kisses women to prove he's 'cured'
By MURI ASSUNÇÃO | New York Daily News | Published: June 1, 2019
(Tribune News Service) — The controversial resident of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, accused a rival politician of being gay during a speech in Japan on Thursday, and confessed that he'd also been gay, but he had "cured" himself after he began a relationship with his first wife.
Duterte concluded the speech inviting four women to kiss him.
According to CNN Philippines, the women whom he called on stage to share a kiss had very similar features: long silky hair, slender bodies, and pale skin. And they also had to meet a few requirements: "First, you shouldn't be married, OK? Second, you're not a minor," he said before starting the mini kiss-a-thon.
"Those four. Come here. Let them in, come on, let them in," said the president.
His spokesperson, Salvador Panelo, filmed the public display of awkwardness on his cell phone, while Senator-elect Bong Go, a staunch supporter of the president, watched the scene with a less-than-amused look.
During the speech, Duterte had poked fun at his political rival Antonio Trillanes IV, a retired Navy officer who currently serves as a senator, who's a married father of two children.
According to the Filipino news site Rappler, the president said that a gay person had told him that, based on his movements, the senator was gay: "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 went on to explain how he was to become an ex-gay person: "When I began a relationship with [former wife] Elizabeth Zimmerman, I said, this is it. I became a man again."
Duterte's apparent ex-gay status comes after a lifetime of political flip-flopping on the issue: during his presidential campaign, Duterte appeared to have liberal issues on homosexuality, but changed his tone after he was elected, according to Rappler.
In March 2017, he affirmed that marriage was only between a man and a woman, but later in the year told an LGBTQ crowd that he thought that the law can be changed to allow same-sex marriage.
Duterte often uses terms like "bakla" and "bayot," offensive words that mean gay, as insults to his political enemies, and in 2016 he called then-U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg a gay "son of a w---e."
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