Fisherman Carlo Montehermozo asked the 5 presidential candidates during a televised debate back in 2016 what they can do for fishermen like him so that they may peacefully fish in the West Philippine Sea without being shooed by the Chinese Coast Guard.
Then-candidate Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged that the Philippines has "submitted" itself to arbitration, but China does not submit to the court's jurisdiction. He said if the court sides with Manila and Beijing refuses to accept this, he will go to China.
"Ngayon, pag ayaw nila, then I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest boundary dyan sa Spratlys, sa Scarborough. Bababa ako, sasakay ako ng jet ski, dala-dala ko yung flag ng Pilipino, at pupunta ako dun sa airport nila, tapos itanim ko. Then I would say this is ours and do what you want with me. Bahala na kayo. I would stake that claim and if they want to--matagal ko nang ambisyon yan na maging hero din ako. Pag pinatay nila ako dun, bahala na kayong umiyak dito sa Pilipinas," he said.
(Now, if they don't want, then I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest boundary in the Spratlys, in the Scarborough. I will go down and ride a jet ski, holding a Philippine flag, and I will go to their airport and plant it there. Then, I would say, this is ours and do what you want with me. Do what you want. I would stake that claim and if they want to--it has been my ambition, to be a hero. If they kill me there, just cry for me here in the Philippines.)
WATCH RAW VIDEO:
But almost 5 years after winning the polls, Duterte said this was a joke and called it "bravado."
In a speech aired Monday evening, the President said those who believed the statement he made while campaigning were "stupid."
He said he planned to do so and even bought a secondhand jet ski. He said he plotted his route, but saw that there were not gasoline stations on the way to the Spratlys as it was all just sea.
"Ah sabi ko, mahirap ito. Dito tayo mamamatay nang walang kakwenta-kwenta. So ‘yan ang istorya. Ngayon, paano ‘to? Paano? Panahon sa kampanya ‘yan. At saka ‘yong biro na ‘yon, we call it bravado," he said.
(I said, this is hard. We will die here needlessly. That's the story. So now, how is this? How? That was campaign period. And that joke, we call it bravado.)
"Iyong bravado ko was a pure campaign joke, at kung naniniwala kayo sa kabila, pati na siguro si Carpio, I would say that you’re really stupid," he said, referring to retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
(My bravado was a pure campaign joke, and if the other side believed that, including Carpio, I would say that you're really stupid.)
WATCH RAW VIDEO HERE: