Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte claims ’40 percent’ of rebels are gay

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the 39th birthday party of Boxer Manny Pacquiao at KCC convention center on December 17, 2017 in General Santos, Philippines.

Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte has been criticised after claiming that “40 percent” of Communist rebel fighters in his country are gay.

The leader asked supporters at a campaign event in Laguna on Saturday (February 24): “Did you know that 40 percent of NPA (New People’s Army) fighters are gay?” according to Filipino newspaper The Philippine Star.

The question referred to the armed wing of the country’s Communist Party, which has been designated as a terrorist organisation by the Philippines and the US.

Duterte also claimed that the NPA once handed over hostages to his son, Sebastian Duterte, because they wanted to seduce him.

“I was wondering why they wanted to turn over the captured soldiers to Baste. It turned out, those fools were after Baste.”

— Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte

“I was wondering why they wanted to turn over the captured soldiers to Baste,” he said, adding: “It turned out, those fools were after Baste.”

Duterte told the crowd that while recounting the story to his father, Sebastian had claimed: “Four NPA rebels brought me to an area filled with coconut trees. All of them kissed me.”

“So you were abused?” Duterte said he asked his son.

“He said: ‘Yes, everyone kissed me.’ That’s okay. You now know how it feels to be kissed by gays. It feels better. That flirt!” Duterte added.

President Rodrigo Duterte condemned for claims

The president has been slammed for these comments by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison, who is in exile.

He told Filipino news site GMA News that Duterte’s claim was “unbelievable” and a “joke.”

He asked: “How can he make such a survey finding when his military and police minions cannot locate the thousands of Red commanders and fighters on more than 110 guerrilla fronts?”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) gives a peace sign with members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the Ceremonial Confirmation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law Plebescite Law Canvass Results and Oath-taking of Transition Authority at the Malacanang palace in Manila on February 22, 2019.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been slammed for his claims. (NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty)

Sison then accused Duterte of “again exposing his misogynist and anti-gay character with his macho kind of joke.”

The founder added that his group accepted LGBT+ fighters, explaining: “The men, women and LGBT are qualified to become Red commanders and fighters so long as they are 18 years or older, and are able-bodied, have revolutionary commitment and are willing to undertake politico-military training, to do mass work and to fight the enemy with firearms.”

Sison also accused the president of lying, saying: “Duterte has obviously invented the story that gays in the NPA brought his son Baste to the woods to be subjected to kissing… and other acts amounting to molestation.”

He continued: “There is a strict NPA rule of discipline against sexual molestation and taking sexual liberties against the will of others.

“It is up to the NPA command concerned to inform us how Baste was treated.”

Duterte has previously said that when criminals are sent to prison, they become “beyond reform” because they “acquire latent homosexuality.”