Duterte: Anyone who fell for the jet ski campaign joke is 'stupid'

Published May 10, 2021, 10:08 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

It was just a joke.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a public address from Davao City on May 10, 2021 (RTVM)

President Duterte never intended to ride a jet ski to Spratlys island and plant a Philippine flag to assert the country’s ownership, saying people who fell for this campaign promise were “stupid.”

The campaign pledge to go to the West Philippine Sea on a jet ski was just a joke and part of his bravado, according to the President.

Duterte talked about the “jet ski brouhaha,” including his tale about buying a second-hand vessel to his admission he could not swim, before wrapping up his televised address Monday, May 10.

“Alam mo panahon ng kampanya ‘yun, hindi siguro sanay itong mga gago na style ko sa kampanya, pati bunganga ko. Nagyabang ako na pupunta ako sa Spratlys, magdala ng flag, magsakay ako ng jet ski (You know that was the campaign period. These fools are probably not used to my campaign style, my mouth. I boasted about going to Spratlys, taking a flag, riding a jet ski),” the President said.

“Yung biro na ‘yun (That was a joke). We call it bravado. ‘Yung bravado was a pure campaign joke at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, pati na si Carpio (If you people, including Carpio, believed that) I would say you are really stupid,” he added.

In a presidential debate during the 2016 campaign, Duterte promised to ride a jet ski and go to a disputed island to plant a Philippine flag to assert the country’s claims. Now on his fifth year in office, he has yet to visit the island. He previously said his jet ski statement was just hyperbole.

In his remarks Monday, Duterte kept joking about the jet ski stunt by trying to explain why he was not able to do it.

Duterte said in jest that he bought a second-hand jet ski but the spare parts supposedly have not arrived. He then claimed that he could not take the jet ski to the island since it was far from Palawan. There was no gasoline station along the way to fill the jet ski’s small tank, he quipped.

When he realized he could not make the trip via jet ski, Duterte said he planned on admitting to the people that he was simply afraid to go there.

“Sabihin ko na lang balang-araw na inabot ako ng takot. Wala akong magawa. Takot akong mamatay. Walang gasolina. Yung spare parts hanggang ngayon wala. Sabi ng Navy, ang alon na aabutan mo Sir kasing laki ng barko. Huwag na (I’d just admit one day that I was afraid. I could not do anything. I was afraid to die. There was no gasoline. The spare parts have not yet arrived. The Navy said the waves were as high as ships. No way),” he said.

“Kung naniniwala kayo niyan (If you believe that) I really don’t know, if you harp on that. I was not taking lightly the sovereignty but it was a pure joke actually,” he said.

Towards the end, Duterte confessed he also could not swim.

“By this time I would have been the late Rodrigo Duterte kung totohanan ko ‘yun (if I do that),”he said.

“Isipin ninyo kung paano magiging totoo ‘yan, matutunaw ang utak ninyo ( If you think about how to make it true, your brain will melt),” he added.