President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday personally acknowledged that he apologized to popular TV host and actress Kris Aquino through his top aide, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, amid the verbal tussle between the former Presidential sister and Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.
“Yes, it’s true, through Bong (Go),” Duterte said in a press conference following the inauguration of the Terminal 2 of the New Mactan-Cebu International Airport.
Duterte, however, said while he did not consider Uson’s refusal to apologize to Aquino as a defiance of his order, he said he respects the comments made by his appointed communications official, especially that she invoked her right to freedom of expression.
“As I respect the opposition, I must also respect the people in my camp. She has invoked the right of free expression, freedom to express,” Duterte told reporters.
“Once nag-invoke ka ng ganu’n, wala akong magagawa (there’s nothing I can do anymore). As long as you’re a Filipino citizen, I will respect your right to freedom of expression,” he added.
The conflict between Uson and Aquino started after the latter called out the former for sharing a video which she posted on her Facebook page showing the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. being kissed by two women inside an airplane just moments before he was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983.
Uson shared this footage side by side with footage of Duterte kissing a married Filipina worker in Korea, identified as Bea Kim in an exclusive video by Radio Television Malacanang, during a meeting with the Filipino community in the host country.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Duterte’s closest aide, Go, said he already apologized to the multimedia icon regarding Uson’s post, and had conveyed Duterte’s apology.
On the same day, instead of apologizing to Aquino, Uson reminded host-actress Kris Aquino that the issue involving her viral social media post was not about the former Presidential sister but about making malice out of a kiss.
When asked by reporters for her comment prior to her departure at Incheon International Airport in Seoul on June 6, she said her reaction is posted on her Facebook page.
On her official Facebook page posted 5 p.m. Wednesday, Uson responded to Aquino’s live video posted on Tuesday (June 5) where she challenged the government official to meet her “anytime and anywhere.”
“Ito po ang aking response sa live video ni Miss Kris Aquino (This is my response to the live video of Miss Kris Aquino). This is not about Kris Aquino. Tungkol ito sa paglagay ng malisya sa isang halik (This is about making malice out a kiss),” Uson said in her reaction posted on Facebook. (PNA)