A spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday responded to accusations the president looked “unkempt” and slovenly during his recent meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by insisting Duterte is “very hygienic” and smells wonderful at all times.
“His body emits a refreshing scent as observed by people who meet up close to him,” said Duterte spokesman Salvador Panelo.
“That’s what the ladies tell me when they kiss PRRD, that he smells good,” Panelo added, using a common abbreviation for Duterte’s name.
Panelo did not venture any observations on the quality of Medvedev’s body odor or what the ladies say about him, but the Russian PM was unquestionably better tailored for his meeting with the Philippine president in Russia.
Medvedev wore a clean and pressed shirt and jacket with an immaculate purple tie. Duterte wore a rumpled suit and loose tie that made him look like he just got tossed through the swinging doors of a saloon. This prompted Russian journalist Pavel Vondra to observe that Duterte looked “a bit unkempt” for his meeting with Medvedev.
“The Russian Internet is having a blast,” Vondra said on Thursday. “‘Did he drink all night? Did he just leave the pub? Do Filipinos know what protocol is?’ people ask.”
Panelo responded that Duterte loosened his tie because “he feels suffocated and very uncomfortable,” a not uncommon feeling among Russians, visitors to Russia, and even some people who leave Russia to live in other countries.
“PRRD dresses up for comfort, he is not particular on unsettling other people,” Panelo stated.
Reuters noted that Duterte’s relaxed dress and “no-nonsense, man-of-the-people style” have made him popular with Filipinos but often clash with “the pomp and protocol he encounters in the international political arena.”