A Filipina student-volunteer during President Rodrigo Duterte’s meeting with the Filipino community in Seoul described on Facebook how it was difficult to watch him onstage.
Facebook user Cil Borlaza shared in a now-viral post that she was part of the audience when Duterte kissed a woman on the lips before hundreds of Filipinos in Seoul at the Grand Hilton Hotel Convention Center on June 4.
“This was extremely difficult to watch. But, it was heartbreaking to see my fellow countrymen cheering for it,” Borlaza said in reference to the way Duterte delivered his speech in the official event.
She described how “heartbreaking” it was when she saw other Filipinos in the audience who cheered on and applauded “every curse, every perverted joke, every ‘papatayin ko talaga sila’ remark” of the president.
Borlaza is currently in her final year of her doctorate studies under a Korean government scholarship. She was also a Department of Science and Technology scholar in the Philippines.
She agreed to volunteer in the presidential occasion as a gesture of gratitude to her home country.
“It was my way of engaging into volunteerism for my country, even if I’m not exactly a fan of the current administration,” Borlaza explained.
The chief executive visited South Korea for a three-day visit to strengthen ties with its leader Moon Jae-in.
Not the occasion she hoped for
In the post, Borlaza described her experience at the convention as “borderline traumatic,” which prompted her to share such sentiments online.
She related how the president used many “foul words” and “perverted jokes” in his message to the Filipinos, particularly using the lewd Filipino term “libog” in front of them.
“He made remarks about pretty ladies who performed and are in the crowd as if bragging about his womanizing skills. He even kissed someone in the lips,” she wrote.
Duterte’s kissing of a female Filipino overseas worker on the lips made headlines in the Philippines and abroad, drawing condemnation from women’s rights groups for supposed “power play” in action.
Power play is defined as a situation or a method used mostly by a person with authority over others, particularly on less powerful people.
Supporters of Duterte attempted to justify the act as a mere form of entertainment and that it’s consensual as the OFW herself defended it in a video.
Based on reports, the migrant worker is married to a Korean man with two children.