PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told an emotional Honeylet Avanceña that she was destined to be the First Lady.
Avanceña has been Duterte’s longtime partner since his marriage with Elizabeth Zimmerman was annulled.
Honeylet recalled her life as an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in the United States as he introduced the President before 1,200 Filipino workers here.
Avanceña, who once worked as a nurse in the United States, described OFWs as “heroes” and hailed their strength of character and dedication, making them outstanding employees.
During his speech, Duterte recalled how he asked Avanceña to return to the Philippines after he found out she was pregnant. The President has one daughter with Honeylet – 14-year-old Veronica, also known as Kitty.
“No guarantees kung ano titulo mo, but it’s really a destiny na maging First Lady ka pero kung mayroon gusto sumunod, OK lang naman,” the 74-year-old President said, drawing laughter from the audience.
(There are no guarantees with titles, but it’s really a destiny that you become first lady. But if there is someone who wants to follow, it’s OK.)
Duterte, a self-confessed womanizer, introduced Avanceña to the crowd as “my one and only.”
He said he met Avanceña when she won as first runner-up in the 1988 Mutya ng Dabaw pageant.
“Itong babaeng ito, mahal ko talaga (I really love this woman),” he said.
The presence of his partner Honeylet Avanceña did not stop President Duterte from being playful during his meeting with the Filipino community here.
Towards the end of his more than two-hour speech, some of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here shouted “Daddy, kiss, hug,” which caught the attention of the President.
After declaring that Avanceña was his “one and only,” Duterte asked for volunteers to kiss him.
“Sino ngayon ang mag-volunteer? Unang-una wala kang asawa, ha? Pangalawa, hindi ka menor de edad. Ikaw, ma’am, mag-smooch ka,” he said.
The President invited five ladies on stage and kissed them on the cheek, with Avanceña seated nearby.
“Sige na para makauwi na tayo. Anyone of you. Kiss lang. Halika na, ma’am. Silang apat, halika. Pasudla na. Sige na pasudla na. (Let them in. Come on. Let them in) Halika na. O ako bababa?” he said.
After kissing the five OFWs, he then said in jest, “O mga biyuda naman. Biyuda ka? Biyuda, biyuda?”
The 74-year old President sparked a controversy in June 2018 when he kissed a married overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Seoul, South Korea during a meeting with the Filipino community there.
Malacañang defended Duterte from criticisms, saying it was just a “playful act,” which is accepted in Filipino culture.