Palace defends Duterte’s attempted groping: ‘Joke only’

Published March 29, 2021, 3:28 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang was quick to defend President Duterte from criticisms calling him out for his playful attempt to touch the private part of a young lady inside his Davao City home during his birthday on Sunday.

(Screenshot via End Rape Culture PH)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after a video of the President’s 76th birthday celebration went viral online late Sunday.

The video showed President Duterte being serenaded by the people inside his house for his birthday. However, he moved his arm to touch the private part of a young lady who brought him a candle-lit cupcake. The young lady quickly backed to avoid Duterte’s hand.

In his Monday presser, Roque defended the President, saying Duterte was just being playful to his house helper.

“Matagal niya nang kasambahay yun, eh (That lady has been his house helper for a long time now),” he said.

“Alam niyo naman talagang palabiro ang ating Presidente pero wala pong malisya yun dahil nakaharap naman po doon si Ma’am Honeylet (You know that the President likes to crack jokes but there was no malice there since Ma’am Honeylet was there),” he added, referring to Duterte’s common-law wife Honeylet Avanceña.

“Ang konteksto po niyan malapit po ang relasyon ng Presidente, nakikipagbiruan sa kanyang kaarawan, so wala pong masama diyan (The context is the President is close with the people there. He was being playful so there’s nothing wrong with that),” he continued.

Despite labeling the criticisms as crab mentality, Roque said there was nothing wrong if people called out the President.

“Ganyan po talaga ‘yan (That’s how it is)– It’s not bad, it’s not wrong, but that’s expected of them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque said that if there was someone who should cry foul over what happened, it was the house helper.

“Kung may magrereklamo, dapat yung kasama niya sa bahay. Yun lang po yun (If there is someone who should complain. it’s the house helper. It’s as simple as that),” he said.