Duterte: Remarks on Leni's knee 'appropriate, necessary'

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2016 12:23 PM | Updated as of Nov 09 2016 12:34 PM

MANILA - President Rodrido Duterte on Wednesday defended his remarks about Vice President Leni Robredo, saying his comments were appropriate and necessary to break the ice at Tuesday's occasion.

Speaking as he prepares to leave for Malaysia and Thailand, Duterte said there is no problem talking about Robredo's knee.

"Tuhod lang? Yes, I said she was wearing a skirt. Sabi ko, hindi nagsisimba ito. It is appropriate. As a matter of fact, it is good. What’s the problem there? What’s the issue? Sexist?," he said.

While in Tacloban with Robredo for the third anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, Duterte teased Robredo about her relationship status, also implying he was a viable option for the widow of former Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

Vice President Leni Robredo and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. File Photo

He also cited an instance when Robredo supposedly wore a short skirt and caught his attention during a Cabinet meeting.

Duterte claims he makes those comments "every meeting" with his Cabinet to "lighten the moment."

"What’s so special about the knee of a person?," he said.

Duterte also argued that making those remarks during the commemoration of the third anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda were "necessary to make people laugh for them to enjoy the occasion, kasi galit ako (because I was angry)."

"I was angry yesterday because after 42-billion sa NHA pati after 30-billion sa DSWD—hindi kami ‘yan ah; bago lang kami pumasok—ang naka-occupy pa lang is 4,000," he said, adding that he said those remarks "to break the ice."

"What’s so special about the body of a woman or the knee of a woman na walang kalyo? Ibig sabihin, baka hindi nagsisimba," he said.

Asked he deemed it not offending for a president to be making those comments pertaining to his vice-president, Duterte said: "What’s wrong with being president? I don’t stop [being] president just because [I said that]."

"Do not exact standard for me. I will do what I say, and I say what I do," he said.

"Those jokes like that is nothing unless umakyat ka sa tuhod hanggang dito, then that could be an extreme bad take. Pero sabihin mo na ‘tingnan mo, hindi ito nagsisimba, tuhod nito,’ so?"

He then turned to the journalist raising the question, saying "What’s wrong with the knee of your wife? You have a wife? What’s wrong with her? If I say na ‘yung tuhod ng asawa mo gasgas kasisimba, may kalyo na’?"

"You want to depict me as bastos? You can. Have your day. It’s not my concern to impose the standard kung yan ang ano. Do not put a limitation or cast aspersion sa mga biro ko kasi ako, hindi ako heneral; pulitiko ako. Natural sa amin yang magpatawa, lalo na after magalit," he said.

(You want to depict me as vulgar? You can. Have your day. It’s not my concern to impose the standard on what is what. Do not put a limitation or cast aspersion on my jokes because I am not a general; I am a politician. It is natural for us to make jokes especially after we get mad.)

"You make a big issue about tuhod na…is that the trivialities of media? It’s so trivial," he added.

In a statement on Wednesday, Robredo described these remarks as "inappropriate," adding that "tasteless remarks" such as this have no place in the society.