Robin Padilla drew flak from netizens after an episode of the reality talent competition Pilipinas Got Talent aired showing him “grilling” Korean magician Kim Jiwan about the use of the Filipino language. In it, the contestant, who has lived in the Philippines for 10 years, tried to ask help from Robin, one of the show’s four judges, to participate in his audition trick.
The 48 year-old-actor, however, refused and demanded the Korean contestant to first learn how to speak in Filipino—something that drew ire from viewers online. Others called this a “rude” and “racist” way to treat a foreigner; others commented on Robin’s “false sense of nationalism."
In a pre-recorded video, the contestant said, “My dad, he brought me, my mom, my older brother to Manila. The Philippines is basically my home and I want to live here for the rest of my life.” He added, “I'm Korean but Filipino by heart.” However, when asked on the show why he hasn’t learned the language, Jiwan replied, “In international schools, they don't teach me.”
During a press conference for his upcoming television series, Robin addressed criticism thrown at him for this “harsh treatment.” He said, "Wala akong pinagsisihan. Kasi ako din pumupunta sa ibang bansa, at pagpumunta ako sa ibang bansa, pinipilit ko malaman kung ano 'yung salita nila. Kasi bisita ka doon, e. Ikaw ang makikibagay. Kung pupunta ka dito sa Pilipinas at uutusan mo kami at i-Inglesin mo kami sa banyangang pananalita, e, nagkakamali ka, bayan ko ito. Bayan ko ito at handa ako mamatay anytime para sa bayan ko."
He continued, "Kung sasabihin mo sa akin na 10 taon ka na dito at hindi ka pa rin marunong mag-Tagalog, aba, e, may problema. Hindi mo pwede sabihin sa akin na mahal mo ang Pilipinas. Sabi niya mahal daw niya ang Pilipinas, e. May girlfriend siya na Pilipina pero hindi siya marunong mag-Tagalog? Hindi ko naman siya inaway, sinabihan ko lang siya parang tatay niya.”
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