MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said Catholics priests, even those who are gay, should be allowed to marry.
"Priests should be allowed to marry. That’s the only solution there," Duterte said in the local dialect during a distribution of cash grants in Cebu.
"Even the gay ones, allow them to marry, same sex marriage. I am in favor of that para matapos na. Matapos na ang problema (so the problem will be finished)," he added.
The President, who has repeatedly criticized the Catholic Church, did not elaborate on what problem he was referring to.
He made the remarks on the same day that Pope Francis promised an "all-out battle" against sexual abuse by priests, which was the subject of a landmark Vatican summit.
Duterte, in his speech, also said he has 2 gay brother-in-laws.
Tense exchanges between Duterte and some prelates have continued despite a July 2018 meeting between the President and his fellow Davaoeño, Archbishop Romulo Valles, president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.
Panelo said the President remains open to talks with the Church hierarchy, after Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he was willing to mediate between the two sides.
Report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News