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No apologies. There was nothing inappropriate or sexist in admiring the beauty of Vice President Lent Robredo, President Duterte declared on Wednesday.
The President blew his top over criticisms about his recent advances towards Robredo, blaming the media anew for making a big deal about the issue.
“I said she was wearing a skirt, her tuhod was walang ano… Sabi ko hindi nag-sisimba ito. It is appropriate. As a matter of fact, it is good,” Duterte said in a press conference before leaving for Thailand and Malaysia.
“So what’s the problem there? Why an issue? Sexist? Nandiyan na naman ‘yung media. Anong sabihin ko? Totoo naman,” he said, losing his patience.
At the third commemorative rites of the Yolanda tragedy in Tacloban last Tuesday, the President teased Robredo about her love life, particularly asking if rumors about a boyfriend were true. Duterte also shared a story about staring at the knees of Robredo whenever she wears short dresses during Cabinet meetings.
Robredo, who attended the Yolanda ceremony, merely smiled when the President shared these light moments.
The following day, the Vice President said “tasteless remarks and inappropriate advances against women” have no place in society.
When informed about Robredo’s reaction, the President became annoyed and explained he was merely trying to “lighten the moment” during the Yolanda ceremony.
“It is necessary to make people laugh, for them to enjoy the occasion, kasi galit ako. I was angry yesterday,” he said about the slow pace of rehabilitation efforts in Yolanda-hit communities.
In the end, the President could not care less if he is viewed as rude by some people. “You want to depict me as bastos? You can have your day,” he said.
But he said his critics should not impose any behavior standards for him, insisting that “I will do what I say and I say what I do.” He said they should also “not cast aspersions” since as a politician, he often uses levity especially after getting mad at a situation.
The President went on to criticize the media for making a “big issue” about his comments about Robredo’s body. “Is that the trivialities of media? It’s so trivial,” he said.
He then advised the press to focus on “important matters” next time. (GENALYN D. KABILING)