A Filipino woman working in South Korea made international headlines over the weekend after she was kissed on the lips by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
While the incident sparked widespread controversy back in her home country, the mother of two and wife of a Korean national named Bea Kim found nothing wrong in the act, reports the Inquirer.
Kim, who said the kiss was without malice, told government-run Philippine News Agency that she was happy because it was “a once in a lifetime experience.”
Duterte had just delivered a speech during a meeting with the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton Convention Center Seoul in South Korea on Sunday, when he summoned two women, including Kim, to join him on stage.
After giving each of them a copy of the book “Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church,” the president hugged the first woman and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
Duterte then gestured to the second woman, who was visibly starstruck standing next to him, to kiss him on the lips.
Kim would later reveal that she was “nervous, excited, and scared” before the kiss, especially since her husband was sitting in front of the stage.
She then reiterated that the kiss was just made for fun and had “no meaning.”
Duterte, who was invited by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, was in Seoul for a three-day official visit. The two leaders met on Monday.
The incident caused an uproar on social media, with many netizens condemning the president for the “unethical” act.
Hi. This is what male entitlement to women’s body and affection looks like.
fuckin hell im so tired of this obscene, sorry excuse for a president dehumanizing women in every chance he gets. THIS HAS TO BE STOPPED 😠 https://t.co/BLIoh3Ut7Y
— hez (@bedisturbed) June 3, 2018
“President Duterte kisses an OFW…” pic.twitter.com/YGGurU382i
— Juan Miguel Severo (@TheRainBro) June 3, 2018
duterte can’t embarass the philippines enough he really had to fly to sokor and kiss a filipina in an international broadcast,, smh pic.twitter.com/SNuVpqI16Z
— ᵉˡ ᵐᵃʳᶦᵃᶜʰᶦ (@pannkate) June 3, 2018
saw that news about duterte kissed some filipina and when i confronted my parents about it…..
they cant find a bad thing about it.
— gjeris (@yvesaintderic) June 3, 2018
*your president kissed an ofw*
“‘Wag niyo ‘yung dibdibin. Do not… that’s nothing except that I want to be close to my countrymen,” – Duterte
Yes, it’s possible to cringe to death. 🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️🤦♀️ wtf I WANNA CRY. ☹ https://t.co/AvuOFxJKTf
— Kaye (@heyimkaye) June 3, 2018
Despite the president’s acts of misogyny, he remains popular among Filipinos in the Philippines and abroad who mostly depend on social media content from pro-government bloggers.
“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.
Meanwhile, opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros stated 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.”
Featured Image via YouTube / Rappler