President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines lashed out political rivals whilst campaigning today.
Duterte – one of the world’s most controversial politicians because of his outspoken views – took aim at Otso Diretso senatorial candidates. The Philippines is due to hold midterm elections on 13 May.
Duterte questioned the masculinity of several candidates, but focused on former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. Hilbay is standing to be Senator.
At a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Cagayan province, Duterte said, ‘[Hilbay’s] girlfriend is Agot Isidro. Her boyfriend is gay,’ reports Manila Bulletin.
He went on to say Duterte, whilst Solicitor General, had filled his office with homosexuals.
‘This son of a b*tch Hilbay. He did nothing when he was solicitor general. He filled his office with homosexuals.’
He first made allegations about Hilbay’s sexuality at a rally on Saturday, when he said Hilbay merely ‘acted’ like a man but his girlfriend was fake.
‘Be true to yourself. You’re gay. Don’t hide behind a cover. You were made by God. God made a mistake. Just because he’s a God does not mean he is incapable of making mistakes.’
Hilbay gives perfect response
Following Duterte’s latest remarks, Hilbay hit back on Twitter.
‘President Duterte accused me of being gay, and of using @agot_isidro as beard. Hindi ako na-inform na sumasideline pala siyang chismoso sa kanto. Daming free time, ser?
‘And to use sexuality as an insult? He’s no LGBTQIA ally, cyst.’
President Duterte accused me of being gay, and of using @agot_isidro as beard. Hindi ako na-inform na sumasideline pala siyang chismoso sa kanto. Daming free time, ser?
— Pilo Hilbay (@fthilbay) April 17, 2019
Hilbay posted a statement saying: ‘For the record, I am straight. But unlike the President, Agot and I are secure in our relationship and we don’t believe that anyone has to prove their gender and sexuality to anyone.
‘Unlike the President, Agot and I don’t see being a member of the LGBTQIA community as a mistake or source of shame.
‘If Duterte is a real LGBTQIA ally, he would know that coming out is the most personal and momentous decision an LGBTQIA could make. His display of bigotry is the reason why people choose to hide in the shadows, living in fear, instead of accepting their personal truth.’
A populist, Duterte became President of the Philippines in 2016. He has made headlines around the world for some of his more outspoken views. These include urging Filipino citizens to kill drug addicts to help cure the country’s addiction crisis.
He wants to bring back capital punishment and the death penalty, and has been accused of supporting human rights abuses by the police and military.