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Jakarta Post

Duterte’s meeting with Filipinos in Korea sealed ‘with a kiss’

  • News Network

Seoul/Manila   /   Tue, June 5, 2018   /   04:02 am
Duterte’s meeting with Filipinos in Korea sealed ‘with a kiss’  President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. (Philippine Daily Inquirer /Joan Bondoc )

President Duterte ended his two-hour long speech before the Filipino community on Sunday night with a quick kiss from a Filipina whom he gifted with a book he often quoted in criticizing the Catholic Church.

The President had offered the book “Altars of Secrets: Sex, Politics and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church” written by the late journalist Aries Rufo to the audience.

He first asked whether there was a priest around, drawing out laughter from the crowd, who apparently knew the President’s tiff with Catholic bishops who had criticized his war on drugs.

Amid cheers from the crowd, the President called on two women who then rushed to the stage. One kissed him on the cheek while the other jumped up and down while talking to him.

President Duterte then playfully signalled to one of the women to give him a kiss on the lips. She gave him a smack.

Before this, the President joked that the audience might end up leaving the Grand Hilton hotel and convention center as members of his “lglesia ni Rodrigo.”

He joked that under his “church,” members would make themselves happy because “you only live once.”

'Once in a lifetime experience'

The woman  kissed on stage by President Rodrigo Duterte during a gathering of Filipinos in Seoul, South Korea finds “no malice” in the act and even said, “Happy ako kasi once in a lifetime experience ‘yon.”

Bea Kim, a mother of two and wife of a Korean national, said in a video interview with the government-run Philippine News Agency, “Walang malisya doon.”

In the video, Kim narrated that she was “nervous, excited, and scared” before the kiss, especially as her husband was sitting in front of the stage.

Duterte was in Seoul for a three-day official visit on the invitation of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whom he would meet on Monday.


Meanwhile, some lawmakers branded the President’s action as “unethical.”

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said  “it was really a shock but more than that is the message conveyed to women.  Grabe, as if he could do anything to women. Being the President he should be mindful of his position.”

The congresswoman also urged the government to refrain from “gimmickry” and address issues concerning women.

“Over all, I think, huwag ilihis ang problema ng mga kababaihan sa mga ganitong gimmick. Sagutin ang krisis na kinakaharap ng mga kababaihan at ang dapat na ipromote at gawin ng pamahalaan ay respect and equality for our women at yon ang harapang niyurakan ng Pangulo,” Brosas said.

Meanwhile, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the public not to pass judgment on the overseas Filipina worker whom the President kissed.  “I also call on the public to exercise vigilance and discernment.”

Hontiveros noted that even if the kissing incident was consensual, “it was not a meeting of two consenting individuals on equal terms. Uneven power relations were clearly at play.”

This article appeared on the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper website, which is a member of Asia News Network and a media partner of The Jakarta Post