MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Those slamming him for kissing a married Filipina in South Korea are likely just jealous of her.
This was how President Rodrigo Duterte brushed aside fierce criticism of his controversial kiss during a press briefing early Wednesday, June 6, upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
"There is nothing wrong [with] a simple kiss, you cause an uproar. Inggit lang 'yan sila. Sabihin mo sa kanila palitan nila pustiso nila (They're just jealous. Tell them to change their false teeth)," he said.
Duterte said "everyone enjoyed" the kiss and, repeating the words of Bea Kim, the Filipina he kissed, said there was no malice in it. If there were malice, he would have done things differently, he said.
"I do not do it in public if there is malice. I would pull the woman down somewhere along the empty hall there," the President said.
He appeared to justify his actions by saying this was his "style," which others have gotten used to since he's been doing the same thing since he was mayor.
"Hindi lang 'yan smack. 'Yung ibang babae gusto talaga ng romance. Style ko 'yan eh. Maghanap kayo ng ibang style ninyo," said Duterte, as Cabinet members present could be heard chuckling in the background.
(Not just a smack. The other women really want romance. That's my style. Look for a different style of your own.)
Yet Duterte said that if many women sign a petition protesting his kiss, he would resign.
"If there are enough women to – Well I think if all women here would sign a petition for me to resign, I will resign," he said.
Duterte kissed Kim onstage during a gathering of Filipinos based in South Korea on Sunday, June 3. Kim was visibly elated by the kiss and said in a video taken right after that there was "no malice" in the kiss. Her South Korean husband was in the audience that night.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.