President Duterte on Monday strongly rejected allegations that he received help from China in order to win in the 2016 presidential election saying he only talked “civilly” to President Xi Jinping right after he assumed office.
“I was just being nice to them. For some people to say that I was helped by China in being president, these idiots. I will never, ever do that. Di bale na ‘di ako mag president (I don’t mind becoming president),” Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The President surmised that the allegations that he was helped by China to win in the election may have come from gossips within the Chinese communities in the Philippines.
“What, receiving money from China to buy votes? Maybe in some Chinese communities, the gossip going around was support Duterte. The whole of the Chinese community went for me,” he said.
He recalled that from the time he became mayor of Davao City and later as president, he never received any gift from the Chinese community.
There were even instances that he ordered expensive gifts such as watches, golf sets, and even guns returned to sender.
On his friendship with President Xi, Duterte said he developed a close friendship with the Chinese leader shortly after he was elected in 2016 and remain as good friends until now.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the President said he personally called Xi to ask for help regarding the supply of vaccines.
“Sabi ko (I said), Mr. President we have no vaccination program here because we don’t have the vaccines. We have not been able to invent one and we might have a hard time. He said it’s okay we will send you. And he sent and donated more than 1.5 million vaccines,” he said.
Duterte said for Visayans like him, the debt of gratitude really counts a lot.
“Pag may utang na loob ako sa iyo (If I owe you a debt of gratitude), you can be sure that I will be your friend, a true friend. I’ll die for you,” he said.
Two weeks ago, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario disclosed that a senior Chinese official reportedly boasted about their influence over the 2016 Philippine elections where Duterte won in a landslide victory.
Del Rosario claimed that the information came from “a most reliable international entity” which he did not name up to now.