Duterte Called 'Really Sick' for Kissing Woman on Stage

Exchange happened before a crowd of overseas Filipino workers
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2018 8:27 AM CDT

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is no stranger to controversy, especially with women, though it's not generally in relation to a kiss. While speaking to overseas Filipino workers in South Korea on Sunday night he invited two Filipino women to the stage. He gave them a book, and the BBC describes the pair as "visibly star struck." He exchanged a hug and kiss on the cheek with the first woman, but motioned—repeatedly, and for some time—for the second woman to kiss him on the lips before he moved toward her and planted one there. During their roughly 50-second exchange, CNN reports Duterte asked the woman if she was single (she's not), saying "You're not separated from [your husband]?"

Reuters reports the 73-year-old Duterte downplayed the kiss, telling the crowd, "Don't take it seriously. It's just for fun, a gimmick." The woman, identified as Bea Kim, framed it similarly, saying there was "no malice" in the situation; online commenters and female politicians in the country weren't as forgiving, with one calling it a "grave abuse of authority." "The fact that you thought that kissing the woman would entertain people ... that’s something really sick," said the secretary-general of Gabriela Women's Party.
(More Rodrigo Duterte stories.)

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