Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Philippines' Duterte says will quit if enough women protest his kiss

Philippines' Duterte says will quit if enough women protest his kiss

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to resign if enough women protest his onstage kiss with an overseas worker in Seoul, South Korea.

Critics have slammed the Philippine president for kissing a Filipina on the lips before thousands of cheering Filipino workers while on a visit to South Korea. One senator called the act "a despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority".

He called a woman, Bea Kim, onto the platform during a speech on Sunday and pointed to his lips.

He hugged the first woman and gave her a kiss on the cheek before gesturing to the second woman to kiss him on the mouth.

During his election campaign in 2016, speaking about the 1989 prison riot in which an Australian missionary was killed and inmates had lined up to rape her, Duterte joked he wished he had the opportunity to rape her himself.

A defiant Duterte said the incident was "natural".

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While the woman has defended the kiss and said she was thrilled by her encounter, others said the president went too far. 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. Research fellow at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance at the University of Canberra, Nicole Curato, accused the president of seeing women only as "a piece of meat... a sexual conquest" and not his equal in politics.

She said her husband wasn't around and replied yes to the president's other question.

"You don't have to kiss that woman if you want to entertain people", said Joms Salvador, secretary-general of Gabriela Women's Party. "They are just jealous".

The woman, who appeared excited to see Duterte in person, agreed.

"There wasn't malice in it", she said.

"I believe that an overwhelming majority of Filipinos continue to support the President and found the kiss a light moment that is very accepted in the culture of Filipinos", Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque would later say in a press conference the next day, according to Rappler.

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