Duterte: Legalise same-sex marriage

MANILA Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte dropped two bombshells yesterday.

First, he said he wants same-sex marriages legalised and this sent shockwaves through the Catholic-majority nation.

Later at another event, he said he wants Filipino boxing icon-turned Senator Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao to be his successor.

Legalising same-sex marriages would bring him into conflict with the dominant Roman Catholic Church.

Mr Duterte, a long-time critic of the church, which counts about 80 per cent of Filipinos as followers, made the remarks in a speech before the LGBT community in his southern home city of Davao late Sunday.

"I want same-sex marriage. The problem is we'll have to change the law. But we can change the law," he said to wide applause.

"The law says marriage is a union between a man and a woman. I don't have any problems making it marrying a man, marrying a woman or whatever is the predilection of the human being," he added.

Divorce, abortion and same-sex marriage are still illegal in the Philippines due largely to the influence of the Catholic Church.

Later on, speaking at Mr Pacquiao's 39th birthday bash in Manila on Sunday, Mr Duterte said the boxing champion was capable of becoming the country's next president.

"I told him while we were alone, I want you to become president," he said.

Mr Pacquiao is a Senate member for Mr Duterte's ruling PDP-Laban party.

The boxing senator has admitted to using drugs as a teenager but has backed Mr Duterte's brutal "drugs war", which has seen hundreds being killed each month by police and vigilantes since the president took office last June. - AFP/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN