Gabriela on Duterte kissing OFW: 'Disgusting theatrics of a misogynist'

MANILA, Philippines – The Gabriela Women's Party did not mince words as it criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for kissing on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in South Korea. 

"Gabriela views President Duterte's recent kissing of a migrant Filipina during his meet-and-greet with Filipino OFWs in South Korea as the disgusting theatrics of a misogynist president who feels entitled to demean, humiliate, or disrespect women according to his whim," said the party in a statement on Monday, June 4.

The day before, Duterte ended his meeting with the Filipino community in South Korea by kissing a female OFW on the lips.

Duterte had called two female OFWs to join him onstage to receive a copy of Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church, a book by the late Aries Rufo, who was a Rappler senior investigative reporter. The President has repeatedly shown a copy of this book to mock the Catholic Church.

The President received cheers from the audience after he kissed the OFW, but many netizens were disgusted by his act.

The Facebook page of CinEmotion Digital Films later uploaded a video of the same OFW explaining to the camera that the kiss had "no malice." This is despite the mother of two children saying she is married to a South Korean.

Gabriela, a party advocating for women's rights, found this alarming.

"It is unfortunate that the woman found it her obligation to publicly defend the act as 'no malice,' when it is the President who is duty-bound to explain not only because it was upon his prodding but he is bound, as a public official, by rules of ethics to explain his unruly conduct," said the party.

According to Gabriela, Duterte's kiss was supposedly intended to "divert the people from the real and pressing issues of the country."

"His repeated acts of machismo is meant as entertainment to hide the reality of his rapidly slipping popularity due to the issues of extrajudicial killings, the [tax reform] law, and the big-time corruption scandals now plaguing his rule," said the party.

"It is also his own perverted way of getting back at his women critics, his way of proving he can dominate women at any time and any place he chooses. It is his way of publicly exhibiting his contempt for women," added Gabriela. (READ: From 'fragrant' Filipinas to shooting vaginas: Duterte's top 6 sexist remarks)  –

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.