Duterte ‘jokes’ about cannabis use to keep up with grueling schedule

The Philippine Star

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, December 3, said he uses marijuana to stay awake and keep up with the tight schedules along with the other heads of states.

 “It’s a killing activity,” he said, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore last month.

“Me, [I don’t fall asleep] as much because I was taking marijuana to stay awake. For others, it’s not possible,” he added.

After his speech at the conferment of awards on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) National Organizing Council officials and personnel, Duterte clarified to the reporters that he was only joking about using marijuana.

“Of course it was a joke. Pero nobody can stop me from just doing my style. Minsan sabi ninyo misogynist ako, magbiro ako ng ganun. That’s my style. It’s too late to change. If I want to joke, I will joke (Of course it was a joke. But nobody can stop me from doing my style. Sometimes you tell me I’m a misogynist, for joking like that. That’s my style. It’s too late to change. If I want to joke, I will joke),” he explained.

 “Ngayon, kung maniwala kayo, eh gago kayo (If you believe it, then you’re dumb),” he continued.

According to Senator Koko Pimentel in a text message, Duterte told him during the conferment of the Quezon Service Cross for the late Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that “he has never touched marijuana his entire life.”

 Duterte has long been criticized by human rights groups for waging a bloody war against drugs. 

Then Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in May said Duterte is against the legalization of medical marijuana.

In the Philippines, the possession and use of marijuana is illegal. Anyone can be punished by up to life imprisonment and a 10 million fine.

‘A disconnect’

Duterte’s joke is bound to upset families of the victims of his war on drugs, which has killed thousands since he took power in 2016. 

Carlos Conde, a Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that the joke “will definitely anger the families even more.”

“There is a disconnect between what the president admitted to do and what the president said he will do to those who use drugs,” he added. 

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