Mariel Rodriguez defends husband Robin Padilla in Korean contestant row

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Mariel Rodriguez and Robin Padilla. Right, Robin gives Korean magician Kim Jiwan a hug on 'Pilipinas Got Talent'. (Photos from Mariel's Instagram)

Reacting to the flak that Robin Padilla has received as a result of his insistence that a Korean contestant speak in Tagalog in last Saturday’s episode of “Pilipinas Got Talent,” wife Mariel Rodriguez took to Instagram to defend her embattled husband.

Robin, a judge in the popular talent show, scolded Kim Jiwan, a Korean magician for not learning Tagalog despite growing up in the Philippines. Many viewers found Robin’s stance too harsh.

“In my opinion Robin was being true to himself. Si Robin magpapakamatay yan para sa Pilipinas… si Robin ibibigay niya buhay niya para sa mga katutubo, sa mga kapatid… sa mga Pilipino. Ganun si Robin. (Robin will give his life for his country, for the natives, for the tribes, for his fellow Filipinos.),” Mariel wrote in a post Tuesday that accompanied a screenshot of Robin and the Korean contestant identified as Kim Jiwan embracing during the show.

“It is very hard to understand his passion when it comes to his love for the country… pero pagkatapos ng pagibig niya sa Allah, susunod ang pag-ibig para sa bayan, more than family more than self more than anything (except God) pinaka mahal ni Robin ang Pilipinas (Robin will give his life for his country, for the natives, for the tribes, for his fellow Filipinos. After his love for Allah comes his love for his country).”

Mariel argued that Robin treated Kim with fairness and humility after the initial awkwardness.

“If you watch the whole clip he was being a very fair judge when it came to the talent of the korean contestant. He humbled himself and said “pasensya ka na” (I’m sorry) even added “isipin mo na lang na tatay mo ako sa Pilipinas at napagsabihan ka ng tatay mo” so ano ba ang ikinakagalit niyong lahat? (‘Just think that I’m your father in the Philippines and you’re just being scolded by your dad,’ so what are you so upset about?).”

Mariel angrily took exception to one reaction of a netizen using a fake account called @shainmagdayao100 (obviously not the actress) who posted, “Because your husband is a disgusting bully, your daughter will most likely get raped in the future.”

“Below the belt. no mother should ever receive ill wishes for her child no matter what the circumstances are. I learned that in Islam it is all about your INTENTIONS… and Robin did not have any intention to cause anyone pain but you guys sending hate our way even including my child is purely intentional so goodluck sa inyo (to you) in your afterlife. While you guys are bashing away Robin is busy rebuilding Marawi. People with REAL PROBLEMS! And no your bad comments are not welcome on my page. To my husband… we stand by you 100%,” Mariel further posted.

During the now controversial episode, fellow judge Angel Tocsin came to Kim’s rescue by teaching him a few Tagalog words.

In his defence, Robin reposted an Instagram post by a British expatriate named Malcolm Conlan that took the Korean contestant to task for his inability to learn the Filipino language.

“To me, this is not really an excuse. If you have grown up in the Philippines and clearly called the Philippines your home, you should at least make some effort to learn the language. When the Korean national got into his act, clearly he can in fact understand and speak a little Tagalog,” Conlan wrote.

“I believe your intentions were just to coax it out of him a little. In fact, you are a comedian too and in a way was just having a little fun, whist making a valid observation…You were never racist at all, as some filipinos have claimed, in fact I truly wish others were able to be outspoken and stand up for their beliefs in a very clear and passionate manner.”

Robin, Angel and Vice Ganda all voted yes to allow Kim to move to the next round of “Pilipinas Got Talent,” so Robin and Kim will see each other again in a future episode of the show.