No malice in President's kiss, Filipina says

By Gigie Arcilla

June 4, 2018, 1:52 pm

SEOUL, South Korea -- President Rodrigo Duterte’s act of kissing a Filipina onstage in a gathering of Filipinos in Seoul, South Korea on June 3 may have drawn flak from some but the Filipina herself said there was no malice at all in the kiss.

Bea Kim, who has been staying in Seoul for seven years with her Korean husband and two daughters, said she was happy with what happened.

Yung kiss, walang ibang sabihin. Pampakilig lang sa audience. Promise, para sa akin at sa kanya (President Duterte), walang ibig sabihin (The kiss doesn’t mean anything except to entertain and make other Filipinos in the gathering happy. I assure you, for me and even the President, there was no malice in the kiss),” Kim told Radio Television Malacanang after the event at the Grand Hilton Hotel, here.

Kim added that when he was called by President Duterte on stage, she initially had mixed feelings of nervousness, fear and excitement but she is thankful.

Nasa may unahan siya (my husband) at nandito ako sa gitna. Pumunta lang ako doon (stage) nung nagsabi ang President na ‘yung naka white’. Tapos lumingon muna ako sa mga katabi ko at wala naming ibang naka white (My husband was seated in front while I was in the middle part of the audience. I just went up the stage when the president picked someone in white to come up the stage. I looked around, there was no other in white except me),” Kim recalled.

Kim said it was a once in a lifetime experience.

Kahit nasa Pinas (Philippines) ka, parang suntok sa buwan na makita mo nang malapitan ang Presidente. Totoo yun. Twist lang yun, walang malisya. Si President nagtanong kung single ako, sabi ko married ako sa Koreano (It’s rare to have the chance to meet the President up close. It’s true, it was just a twist and there is no malice. The President even asked me if I was single. I told him I am married to a Korean),” Kim added.

President Duterte's “kiss gimmick” drew criticism on social media.

Towards the end of Duterte’s speech in a meeting with Filipinos in Seoul, he said he will give a book titled "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church" to an overseas Filipino worker.

Kim and another Filipina came up the stage to receive the book. (PNA)