Philippines' Duterte stirs controversy by kissing woman on lips

Frederick Owens
June 8, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, offers a handshake to President Rodrigo Duterte at the end of a joint press conference after a meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, June 4, 2018. One senator called the act "a despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority".

"The kiss really was an act that was meant to please the Filipino crowd", presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

The woman herself later told state-run Philippine media that there was "no malice" in the act, though Duterte critics said he had put her under pressure. Risa Hontiveros, who asked the public not to pass judgment on the woman. In July 2017, Duterte made a rape "joke", saying that although child rape was absolutely unacceptable, he would congratulate someone who had "the balls" for raping Miss Universe contestants.

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.

"The signing of bilateral agreements promises not just a growth for our economies but also ushers in a new era of stronger cooperation and partnership", President Duterte said.

He said that "most of the companies (why they don't want to come) here (is the rampant crime)".

But Duterte, before leaving for South Korea, said of the United Nations rapporteur: "I did not have anything to do with that".

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The two women then approached the president on stage, and as a sign of gratitude after receiving the book, both of them kissed the president's right hand, before attempting to leave.

Duterte was heard telling the woman before kissing her on the lips and embracing her after.

"He should have kissed her on the cheeks instead", she said.

"Don't take it seriously".

"There wasn't malice in it", she said. "It's just to give people fun".

A day later while meeting a group of former communist rebels Duterte joked he would have specific orders for how the military would treat female guerrillas.

The woman, who is married to a South Korean and has two daughters, later said in a TV interview that she was thrilled by her face-to-face encounter with the president.

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