Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has come under fire for kissing a married woman on lips in front of a crowd in South Korea.
Duterte has been slammed by critics for the kiss, which happened at the end of a rambling two hour speech he gave to overseas Filipino workers in Seoul.
The controversial leader called the woman on stage to give her a copy of a book about alleged corruption and abuse in the Catholic church in front of a 3,000-strong crowd. As the 73-year-old summoned her to the stage he said: ‘There’s payment for this, a kiss. You in white, are you ready to engage in kissing? Come here.’
He kissed her in front of a cheering crowd (Picture: PTV)
Amid the roar of the crowd, Duterte asked if the woman was married and if her husband was around. He inquired if she could explain to her husband that what they were about to do was just a joke.
‘Make him jealous,’ the president said, before he leaned in and kissed her. ‘Don’t take that seriously,’ Duterte later told the crowd. ‘It’s just to give people fun.’ The scene was beamed live by the state-run TV network to the Philippines.
He leaned in for the kiss after asking if she could explain it was a joke to her husband (Picture: PTV)
While the woman defended the kiss and said she was thrilled by her encounter, others slammed the president for his ‘despicable display of sexism and grave abuse of authority.’
Senator Risa Hontiveros said: ‘President Duterte acted like a feudal king who thinks that being the president is an entitlement to do anything that he pleases. ‘Even if the act was consensual, it was the president, possessed of awesome, even intimidating, power, who initiated it.’
He said payment for the book must be in the form of a kiss (Picture: PTV)
The Gabriela women’s party condemned his act, which it said underscored his ‘machismo and misogyny.’ The ‘macho spectacle,’ it said, ‘alarmingly makes sexual advances against women look right.’
Dutertue has previously been slammed for making rape jokes about Miss Universe, telling his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina and saying they had permission to rape up to three women during conflict without facing punishment. He has also publicly kissed women in the past, included at rallies during his campaign for the presidency.