Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that he would resign if all the women in the Philippines sign a petition calling for him to quit in response to widespread outrage after he forced a married woman to kiss him on stage in South Korea.
“I’ll quit if enough women protest,” Duterte reportedly told a media briefing at around midnight on Tuesday upon his return from South Korea, where he was for a three-day official visit. “If there are enough women to … Well I think if all women here would sign a petition for me to resign, I will resign.”
On Sunday, Duterte asked two women to come on stage during an event described as a “gathering of members of the Filipino community,” where he offered each of them a free copy of a book critical of the Catholic church. Duterte has previously revealed that he was molested by a Catholic priest as a boy.
Duterte then motioned for one of the women, who is married, to kiss him on the lips. After some playful deliberation, she obliged him.
The scene triggered outrage from South Korean and Philippine observers. Kim later told Radio Television Malacanang, a Philippine state outlet, “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.”
During his Tuesday press conference, Duterte reportedly added that kissing women was his style during his over two decades serving as the mayor of Davao City. “During the campaign in my mayorship days, I kiss every woman there, lips to lips,” he said. “The problem is you don’t know me.”
Duterte’s presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday reportedly said the kiss showed Duterte’s caring, fatherly character and said Kim “did it willingly and excitedly, she was tickled pink.”