President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday apologized for not possessing statesmanlike qualities, saying his transition to becoming the country's most powerful figure has not been easy.
"I never really graduated from being a mayor to being a president . . . I'm sad to say that, I'm sorry," Duterte said during the inauguration of the People's Television Network's Cordillera hub.
The statement came after Duterte cracked a joke about wanting a woman to embrace him from behind to keep him warm amid Cordillera's cool weather.
Duterte has raised eyebrows over his tendency to deliver informal and impromptu speeches during official events, while his supporters lauded the former Davao City mayor's ability to speak the language of the masses.
"What is sad in this world is you cannot be funny anymore when you are in front of the public," Duterte said.
"I'm not taking life as a joke but at least we should have a degree of (humor) . . . kasi uptight tayong lahat . . . Sabi nga nila, 'Itong presidente natin hindi naman statesman.' "
Duterte has said he has no plans to become a statesman, who is given a monument after his death.
He prefers instead for his body to be cremated and buried within 24 hours with "no necrological services and prayers."
"Wala akong ambisyon na ganyan. Do not do it to me . . . I've done all of that during my lifetime," he said.