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.”