Gatchalian on Duterte kiss: It's just like acting

Audrey Morallo ( - June 5, 2018 - 7:07pm
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s smack on the lips of a woman during an official gathering in South Korea received different reactions from two senators on Tuesday, with one condemning the action while another saying it was just like in the movies.

Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, a member of the minority bloc, said that he shared the shock of many Filipino social media users and of some female lawmakers over the president’s kiss with a married woman with the Filipino community in Seoul, South Korea over the weekend.

The Liberal Party lawmaker said that even the president can do it, it doesn't mean that he should. He said that some “gimmicks” are acceptable and some are not.

“I shared the same reaction as many of the netizens and our female legislators that it was inappropriate for the president to kiss [the woman]. May were shocked and reacted, and I share in that reaction,” Aquino told reporters.

“Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian of the Senate majority bloc likened Duterte’s kiss to married actors who do kissing scenes on movies and television shows. The president, a long-time mayor of Davao City, is not an actor. 

“I think for as long as it’s kept professional, and there’s an understanding between the partners, then maybe they can do that,” he said.

He also shared the Palace view that the kiss was meant to please the crowd, which was supposedly evidenced by the cheers of the Filipinos at the gathering.

Duterte was criticized after he kissed a woman on stage supposedly as payment for a book critical of the Catholic Church he was giving away.

'Disgusting theatrics'

The left-wing women’s group Gabriela slammed the president for his action and labeled it as “disgusting theatrics of a misogynist president.”

Male opposition figures also blasted the latest action of Duterte’s mouth, which in the past has issued statements demeaning women.

He has ordered soldiers to shoot women rebels in the private parts should they capture them. Duterte also recently said women were not fit for some jobs as they could wilt under pressure.  

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque defended the president and said that the kiss was just a “playful act” that meant no malice and offended no party. He also said that such behavior is accepted in Filipino culture, a predominantly Catholic nation that has yet to pass a divorce bill and that narrowly passed a law giving Filipinos more reproductive health and contraception options.
The woman who received the presidential kiss also defended Duterte and stressed that there was no malice in the kiss, which was done during an official government function.
Some of the president's supporters have defended him on social media, saying that those critical of the kiss are either hypocrites or are overreacting.

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