MANILA - A Filipino woman whom President Rodrigo Duterte kissed on the lips during his meeting with the Filipino community in Seoul said there was "no malice" in the Chief Executive's gesture.
"Walang malisya 'yun," the woman, identified as Bea Kim by the Philippine National Agency, said in a video on the office's Facebook page.
"Iyung kiss, parang twist lang iyun, pampakilig sa mga audience. Walang ibig sabihin iyun, promise... Sa kaniya, sa akin, walang ibig sabihin," she added.
(It had no malice. The kiss was just like a twist to make the audience giddy. It had no meaning. For him, for me, it didn't mean anything.)
Duterte, after his 2-hour speech on Sunday, called the woman onstage from the audience to receive a copy of a book titled "Altar of Secrets," which exposed supposed corruption in the Catholic Church.
The 73-year-old President asked the woman if she was married, to which she replied in the affirmative.
Duterte through hand gestures, then asked the woman if she could kiss him on the lips, and said, "Kaya mo sabihin na biro lang?"
(Can you tell your husband that this is just a joke?)
The people in the crowd cheered while the President kissed the married Filipina.
"Huwag ninyong dibdibin 'yun. Ano lang 'yun... pampasaya ng mga tao, gimmick," Duterte said.
(Don't take it seriously. It's just for fun, a gimmick.)
Duterte had kissed 2 women in a political sortie before the May 2016 elections.
He has been called out for derogatory remarks against women, including shooting female rebels in the genitals and preferring a “non-woman” as his next pick for a crucial government post.
The President and his allies, however, had said he was an advocate for women's rights.
Duterte has a longtime partner, Honeylet Avanceña, with whom he has a teenage daughter, Kitty Duterte.
He has 3 other children -- Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, former Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, and Sebastian "Baste" Duterte -- with his former wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman.