Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Tuesday, May 11, that he knew President Duterte was only joking when the latter said he would ride a jet ski to assert the Philippines’ sovereignty.
Duterte addressed on Monday, May 10, criticisms relating to his statements during the 2016 presidential debates, when a fisherman asked him about his plans to respond to China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
It was a “pure campaign joke” he said, saying that those who believed his bravado were “stupid” for thinking he would really ride a jet ski to challenge China.
“I knew it was a joke. I’m a jet skier and I knew that it was not possible,” Sotto said in text message sent to reporters.
“And I don’t feel alluded to,” he said of Duterte’s message to those who believed his campaign pledge.
Duterte has been insisting on pursuing an “independent” foreign policy but observers noted his pivot toward China.
While he said he cannot compromise on the country’s sovereignty, Duterte maintained that China was a “good friend” to the Philippines for donating coronavirus vaccines.
He also shunned disrespectful remarks against China, even as it continues its incursions in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
Earlier, Sotto echoed Duterte’s position on the WPS issue, ponting out that the Philippines has no choice but to negotiate with China.