‘Use common sense’: Panelo says Duterte only ‘dramatized’ sea row stance in jet ski ‘campaign joke’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte merely “dramatized” his stance on the maritime dispute with China when he made the jet ski “joke” in 2016, his chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said Wednesday, adding that people should “use common sense” to know whether the chief executive is kidding.
Duterte, in a taped speech, admitted that his declaration of riding a jet ski to the Spratly Island to assert Philippine sovereignty was only a “pure campaign joke” and even called those who believed him “stupid.”
“He said that to dramatize the fact that he will not allow China to assault the sovereignty of this country. I think that was clear enough. For me, that was very clear during the campaign,” Panelo said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Asked how the people will know when the President is joking, Panelo said: “You will know when the President’s joking by using one’s common sense. You know when one person is joking or not.”
The Malacañang official also claimed Duterte was referring to critics when he called those who believed his jet ski promise “stupid.”
“When he said those believed in him [were] stupid, I think he was referring to certain critics who would like to twist facts and circumstances and jokes. He was not referring to [the] majority of the Filipino people who I’m very sure knew that he was only dramatizing a circumstance,” said Panelo.
Despite the friendship with China, Duterte said there were things he was not ready to give up like sovereign territory.
This, even as he called the Philippines’ victory over China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague as a “piece of paper” that can be thrown in a “wastebasket.”
Bato on Duterte jet ski ride joke: ‘That’s him plain and simple’
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