The infamous kissing incident is one of Reuters' top stories of 2018
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Duterte's public kiss with Filipina in South Korea among Reuters top 2018 stories
(philstar.com) - January 2, 2019 - 12:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — International news agency Reuters highlighted the incident where President Rodrigo Duterte kissed a woman on the lips in South Korea as part of their 2018 in review.

The kiss happened when the president visited South Korea in June last year.

Duterte in jest said he would give a book in exchange for a kiss as payment and specifically asked for women in the audience. He gave a book to a woman entitled "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church" to an overseas Filipino worker and then gave her a kiss on the lips.

"Not a man. You have to pay me with a kiss. Are you ready for kissing?" Duterte said in Filipino.

The book was written by late Filipino journalist Aries Rufo which covers church corruption and sex scandal in the Philippines' Catholic Church.

READ: Duterte to continue attacks until Church 'corrects itself'

The president has been promoting Rufo's book as a way of attacking the Catholic Church, an institution that is critical of his war on drugs and the administration's record on human rights.

READ: Duterte draws flak for kissing woman on stage at South Korea meet

At the time of the incident, Duterte told the audience not to take the kiss seriously and said it was “just a gimmick” to entertain people.

But many didn’t find the gimmick funny and found the president’s action inappropriate.

Aside from backlash from netizens, activist groups also slammed Duterte’s action. Gabriela called it “disgusting theatrics” of what it called a misogynistic chief executive.

Women’s advocacy group Every Woman said then that Duterte’s fiasco in South Korea illustrated his “increasing impunity and unbridled misuse of power.”

READ: Gabriela: Duterte’s kissing of Filipina in South Korea a ‘disgusting theatrics of a misogynist’

His former spokesperson Harry Roque dismissed the president’s kiss as a playful act after the incident first happened, but then called it out as “inappropriate” when he was no longer spokesperson last October. — Ryan Macasero

ALTAR OF SECRETS DUTERTE KISS REUTERS SOUTH KOREA
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