MANILA - A woman who had been the subject of President Rodrigo Duterte's "panty" comment clarified Friday she was not offended and that she understood that the chief executive was merely joking.
"It was just clearly a joke. Fifteen years in public service, I'm not easily affected," Hernandez, Bohol Mayor Tita Baja-Gallentes told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview.
On Wednesday, Duterte teased Baja-Gallentes, and urged her to elope with him. Duterte, who has a partner, went on to say that he was captivated by Baja-Gallentes' beauty.
“You are truly beautiful. If it were me, why would I ever break up with you? I will really grab and hold on to your panty if you try to leave, even until the garter snaps. You’re just too beautiful,” Duterte told Baja-Gallentes.
Duterte was in the said town to attend the campaign rally of former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio “Jun” Evasco Jr., who is running for governor of the province.
Baja-Gallentes said she does not "see any bad interpretation with those remarks."
"My 100 percent support to Pres. Duterte," she added.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President was only joking and people are expecting him to do it.
“Yun ngang girl, tawa ng tawa kasi nga kilala niya si Presidente. Pakwela lang yun,” he said.
(Even the girl kept laughing because she knows the President. He was just being funny.)
However, women's rights group Gabriela called the President's remarks "lewd" and "putrid." They claimed that the President was just "flaunting his machismo."
"We in Gabriela Women's Party strongly condemn this sick and disgusting display of machismo, infidelity and ethical bankruptcy," the group said.
"Duterte allies who'd never bat an eye every time the President degrades, humiliates, and sexualizes women do not deserve election to public office."