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Phillipines President Rodrigo Duterte Said He 'Cured' Himself Of Being Gay

He then attempted to prove his point by inviting five women onstage to kiss him.

President Duterte took aim at one of his fiercest political opponents during a speech in Tokyo to members of Japan’s Filipino community on Thursday.

After claiming a "gay person" had told him Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was gay based on "how he moved", Duterte then announced he used to be gay.

"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."

READ MORE: Philippine President Criticised For 'Forced' Kiss With Married Woman

Duterte added it was when he began a relationship with his ex-wife Elizabeth Zimmerman in the 1970s that he "became a man again".

He ended his speech by inviting a number of women onstage to kiss him while his partner Honeylet Avanceña stood nearby, according to CNN Philippines.

"First, you shouldn't be married, okay? Second, you're not a minor. You, ma'am, you want a smooch?" he voiced his requirements in Tagalog from the stage.

Duterte has flip-flopped with his official position on same-sex marriage in the Philippines. After initially declaring his opposition to same-sex unions for a number of years, by the end of 2017 he had expressed his support for them.

He has often used Tagalog words like "bakla" and "bayot" -- words that mean homosexual -- in the form of insults towards his political opponents.

“You know there's nothing wrong with being bayot, bakla or tomboy. It's the way [Duterte] says it," said Geraldine Roman, a transgender congressional candidate, during the 2016 elections.

"I sense some sort of malice -- so for me that should not be something that should be used against his rivals. We should raise the level of politics."

The Philippine leader has also been criticized for using misogynistic language and making light of sexual violence.

Duterte has also come under fire for multiple jokes about rape. His comments -- made to soldiers in 2017, joking that they were legally allowed to rape three women -- were slammed as "sickening" by human rights groups.

Contact the author: samelia@networkten.com.au.