Duterte kissing a married Filipina in Seoul draws criticisms

Photo: Presidential Communications (Government of the Philippines) official Facebook page

By Corina Oliquino | FilAm Star Correspondent

MANILA – Malacañang last June 4 came to the defense of President Rodrigo Duterte after he was criticized for kissing on the lips a married woman in Seoul during his meeting with the Filipino community there last Sunday.

In a TV interview, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said that Duterte’s kiss was just a “playful act” and showed a “light moment that is very accepted in the culture of Filipinos.”

In a report by ABS-CBN News, Roque said, “Obviously there is no offended party here. The lady (identified as Bea Kim) who was kissed has clearly expressed the view that she was honored with the kiss,” Roque said.

“She did say there was no malice in it and I don’t think we should impute any when the woman herself found no malice in it. It was not an issue to the woman so it was not an issue to the president,” Roque added.

In the same report by ABS-CBN News, Duterte’s move was met with criticisms online, with some arguing what happened was still wrong even if it was consensual.

“A person in power, (especially) a President, who solicits sexual favor– a kiss on the lips –before a hooting throng is acting inappropriately. The misconduct? Misuse of power, the (Office of the President). It’s what sexual harassment is all about. He shouldn’t have placed her on the spot,” former Solicitor Gen. Florin Hilbay said.

On Twitter, Marc with #DuterteResign said, “Liberal feminism makes it seem like having ‘consent’ is enough. Consent is not given in a vacuum.”

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño also called the chief executive a “DOM” or a dirty old man, a character portrayed in some movies and television shows.

“Pinagtatawanan natin yan sa pelikula, maraming characters na ganiyan, pero pag presidente ka, dapat di ka komedyante, hindi komedyanteng DOM ang asta,” Casiño told reporters told ABS-CBN News.

“Siguro ang audience tinatrato lang yang form of entertainment, nakakatuwa, but ang may pangunahing kasalanan diyan si Pangulong Duterte mismo. Di naman niya dapat ginawa yung ganun,” Casiño added.

Activist nun Mother Superior Mary John Mananzan added, neither the woman nor the audience could have stood up to the President, and that’s why it was all wrong.

“Halimbawa, umatras siya, sinampal niya. Di ba sakin there is definitely a question of power here. Talagang yung babae, helpless, she cannot really refuse kasi may power relationship yan eh,” Mother Superior Mananzan said.

Duterte’s kiss shows his lack of respect for women – Gabriela solon

In a report by GMA News, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas condemned Duterte for kissing a woman in South Korea, saying that the “shocking” act only further shows his lack of respect for women.

“Nagco-convey ito ng mensahe sa ating mga mamamayan, hindi lang sa mga kababaihan na parang niyuyurakan ‘yung respeto para sa mga kababaihan natin. Na imbes na i-promote at irespeto ang karapatan ng mga kababaihan ng pamahalaan na ito, may mga ganitong gawi ang Pangulo,” Brosas said.

Brosas said there was no way for the woman to refuse Duterte at that moment.

“Siya na may position, sino ang tatanggi? Dapat ang ipamarali niya talaga ay respeto sa kababaihan,” Brosas said.

The lawmaker said the government should instead be looking into the various cases of abuse against Filipino women all around the world.

“Kailangang i-take into consideration din yung impact sa mas maraming kababaihan lalo na humaharap tayo sa maraming usapin ng mga pag-abuso sa mga OFWs na babae,” Brosas said.