Duterte’s joke only about riding jet ski, not sovereignty in West PH Sea — Velasco
MANILA, Philippines — For House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, President Rodrigo Duterte’s “campaign joke” was only with regard to riding a jet ski to the West Philippine Sea and not on defending the country’s sovereignty over the contested waters.
Velasco made the remark on Thursday after Duterte admitted that his 2016 pledge to ride a jet ski to the Spratly Islands and plant a Philippine flag there was a “pure campaign joke.”
“Ang tingin ko dyan, I mean ‘yung mga ganong hirit naman talaga just like what [President Duterte] said, it’s just bravado, it was really a joke,” Velasco said in an interview.
“But it’s a joke as to the jet ski, we have to remember. But as to giving away the sovereignty, I don’t think the President will just give away the sovereignty of our country ng ganon-ganon,” the House Speaker added.
Velasco said that Duterte has his own style, adding that based on how he knows the President, “he has his heart for the country.”
“I think decisions made by the President would always redound to the benefit of the country,” Velasco said.
Velasco earlier said that Duterte’s recent remarks denigrating the 2016 ruling by the international arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which favored the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea, were “borne out of frustration.”
Duterte has said that the victory of the Philippines over China at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague is just a “piece of paper” to be thrown away.
For Velasco, the issue on the West Philippine Sea “is purely a concern that should be best left to the Executive Department, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense.”
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