Duterte: Want many wives? Say you're atheist

LOVER OF WOMEN. President Rodrigo Duterte says men who want to have multiple wives should say they're atheist.

Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

President Rodrigo Duterte has one tip for men who want to have more than one wife: say you're an atheist.

During an event at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Command Center on Tuesday, April 4, Duterte made this suggestion as he again defended Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez for admitting he has a girlfriend though he is married.

"All you have to say is that 'I am an atheist.' If you are an atheist – because the Christian, Judeo-Christian is one wife – if you are an atheist, you can have as much as you want as long as you are able to support the children," said the President.

Soon after, he admitted this was a sexist remark.

"It's a chauvinist statement but really, there are so many women and so short a time in this world," he said.

Duterte even said Alvarez is within his rights to have a girlfriend despite being married since "he never converted to Christianity" and is "not a Catholic."

But Alvarez and his wife Emelita Apostol Alvarez are married and have 4 children. 

"Even if Bebot says he has 5, 4 [girlfriends], we can do nothing because he never converted to Christianity. He is not bound by the number of women you can have," said Duterte.

Commenting on the possible disbarment of Alvarez because of his admission, Duterte said, "This is a world of hypocrisy. Sino ba walang babae dito (Who here has no woman)?"

The President himself admits being a "womanizer." After his marriage to his first wife Elizabeth Zimmerman was annulled, he began to consider his girlfriend Honeylet Avanceña as his common-law wife.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Duterte admitted having 2 or 3 more girlfriends. – Rappler.com 

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.