President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday he takes marijuana to keep himself awake as he lamented the punishing schedule during international conferences.
"It’s a killing activity, and I think my age... Ako hindi masyado, kasi nagma-marijuana ako eh, para para magising. Sa iba hindi na kaya," Duterte said in a speech during the awarding ceremony involving the ASEAN National Organizing Council in Malacañang.
Duterte later told Palace reporters that he made the remark in jest.
“I want to shake the tree. Boring ‘pag wala. Alam mo naman nagpapatawa talaga ako,” he said.
“It was a joke of course. It was a joke but nobody can stop me from just doing my style minsan sabi niyo misogynist ako biro ako ng ganun that’s my style, it’s too late to change if I want to joke I will joke. Kung maniwala kayo gago kayo.”
Duterte also preferred discussions only on "urgent and immediate concerns" of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"You have to give that to the TWG [technical working group] or at least on the lower echelons sa ministerial. We only take, yung pinaka importante. Yung nuances about other country, ano na yun. Only the urgent and immediate concerns of ASEAN. Di talaga kaya," he said.
"Susmaryosep, walang tulog. And the more that the crescendo becomes faster, mas lalo kang di nakakatulog kasi hinahabol ka na babasahin eh, and so you do not want your President to look ignorant. So I have to catch up with the reading, wala na talagang panahon."
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said Duterte was just joking.
"For information of all: the President told me just now that he has never touched marijuana his entire life. Yes, (it was a) joke," Pimentel, president of ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) said in a message to reporters.
He said Duterte made up the joke in relation to his story that the schedule he was being required to follow was a punishing one from 8:30 a.m. up to midnight.
Last month, Duterte missed several meetings during the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Singapore, including the breakfast meeting with Australia’s leader and gala dinner Singapore hosted for heads of government, sparking criticism and renewed calls for transparency on his health condition.
Malacañang said Duterte hardly slept the night before due to heavy workload and needed to take power naps in between meetings.
Duterte, in a speech before the Filipino community in Papua New Guinea on November 16, made light of his absence in a breakfast meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, asking in jest on whether the organizers would serve kangaroo meat to him and other attendees. — with Amita Legaspi/NB, GMA News