Panelo proposes survey to find out if Filipinos duped by Duterte's jet ski 'joke'

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the public should be heard if they voted for President Duterte in the 2016 polls because they believed that he will ride a jet ski to the West Philippine Sea or if they voted for him despite his penchant for cracking jokes.

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (Malacañang/Manila Bulletin)

Panelo made the statement following criticisms about the President's renewed admission that he was only joking when he told a fisherman in a town hall debate in 2016 that he will ride a jet ski to the Spratly Islands and plant the Philippine flag there to stress the country's claims over the area.

In an interview with ANC, Panelo expressed certainty that those who voted for the President knew that he was only joking when he mentioned the jet ski brouhaha.

Duterte recently called those who believed him back then "stupid."

"He was not referring to the majority of the Filipino people who I'm very sure knew that he was only dramatizing a circumstance," he said Wednesday morning, May 12.

"The fact that he received an overwhelming votes that would tell us that people know him," he added.

When host Christian Esguerra responded that another way of looking at the situation was the President was able to dupe many voters, Panelo said the people should be asked instead.

"That is what you're saying. Let's ask the voters themselves," Panelo said.

"Maybe you have to conduct a survey on that," he added.

President Duterte's jet ski comment resurfaced after he said last week that he never once mentioned the West Philippine Sea issue when he was still campaigning for the presidency because it was a sensitive topic.

On Monday, Duterte reiterated that his jet ski comment was just a joke.