Kiss in Seoul is about ‘abuse of authority’ not ‘consent’ – Gabriela

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte interacts with his supporters upon his arrival at the E-Mart Headquarters in Seoul, Republic of Korea for the E-Mart/Philippine Food Festival on June 5, 2018. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 June) – The camp of President Rodrigo Duterte should not invoke “consent” in defending the action of the country’s leader who has been criticized for kissing on the lips a Filipina worker onstage in exchange for a book, during a meeting with the Filipino community in Seoul, South Korea on Sunday, Gabriela Southern Mindanao chair Jean Lindo said on Wednesday.

“Of course, they may justify that the woman gave consent and felt honored. But this is not about the woman. This is about abuse of authority,” Lindo said.

She said that since it was then Mayor Duterte who approved the 1997 Women Development Code of Davao City, he should know how women view abuse against them and under what circumstances it would happen.

She added the president should obey the Code of Professional Conduct as do most of the Filipino professional workers.

“There is a Code of Professional Conduct. If ordinary professionals are required to follow, then more is required of a president. When women raise their collective voices, the perspective is Gender Justice, and it is not about moralizing. It is really defending women,” she said.

Lindo lamented the continuing “misogynistic remarks” of the president.

“But really, maybe he feels that he is president he can make all the sexist and misogynistic remarks or do as he did and get away with it. You call this Rule by Law, whereby he is the exception to the rule. If the Rule of Law is operational, even the president will obey the rule,” she said.

In his arrival message at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday evening, Duterte maintained that it was his “style” even when he was still mayor and that he saw “nothing in a simple kiss.”

He claimed they (audience) “enjoyed” the kissing and that it was meant to entertain them.

“We enjoyed it. It was a showbiz and everybody enjoyed it. Asking for malice, I do not do it in public if there is malice. I would pull the woman’s — down somewhere along the empty hall there,” he said.

He even bragged that he would kiss “every woman, lips to lips” during the campaigns when he ran for mayor.

“Ayaw mong maniwala? Tignan mo ng footage ng ABS-CBN. Hindi lang ‘yan smack, ‘yung ibang babae gusto talaga ng romance. Style ko ‘yan eh. Maghanap kayo ng ibang style ninyo (You don’t believe me? Check the footage of ABS-CBN. Not only smack, other women wanted romance. That’s my style. Look for your own style, too),” he said.

It was not the first time the president was criticized for his remarks about women.

Earlier, the President said he would order the military to shoot the private parts of female members of the New People’s Army to make them useless, and declared he does not want a woman to lead the Supreme Court or the Office of the Ombudsman.

The SC was led by former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who was removed last month by her colleagues via a quo warranto petition filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Another woman, Conchita Carpio-Morales, leads the Office of the Ombudsman.

During the campaign in 2016, then presidential candidate Duterte drew flak for his rape joke about Jacqueline Hamill, the Australian lay missionary who was raped and killed during a hostage-taking incident at the Metrodiscom detention center in Davao City in 1989. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)