President Rodrigo Duterte has congratulated newly-crowned Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa for her victory on Thursday in Tokyo, Japan.
Speaking to reporters after his arrival in Davao City from an official visit to Japan, the President said he would like to meet the beauty queen.
“I’d like to congratulate the Miss International. Mabuhay ka at [May you live long and] I’d like to meet her just to congratulate her personally,” Duterte said during a news conference.
Duterte had a chance to meet Verzosa earlier this week, with the pageant taking place in Tokyo.
Verzosa, a 24-year-old pre-school teacher from Baguio City, is the sixth Filipina to win the Miss International title. She was crowned Binibining Pilipinas International in April this year.
The President said he feels “happy” about Verzosa’s win because it gives Filipinos something to be proud of.
“Of course, I am happy. I am always happy if our beautiful women win all the titles [in pageants]— kasi Filipino tayo eh [because we are Filipinos],” Duterte added.
“It gives us — konting hambog [a sense of pride]— it lifts the [spirit]. Parang mayabang tayo na, o kita mo! Magaganda ang mga — magaganda ang maraming Pilipina [We can be proud and say, see, many Filipinas are beautiful],” he added.
But Duterte could not help taking a jab at his critics, particularly the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
“Pero lahat kayo diyan sa Human Rights commission, mga panget [But all of you in the CHR are ugly],” the President said, which drew laughter from the audience.
Past and present members of the commission, including current Chairman Chito Gascon and former chief Leila de Lima, have been critical of Duterte’s approach to crime, blaming him for human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE