MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Whether in jest or not, President Rodrigo Duterte said he takes marijuana, an illegal substance in the Philippines, to stay awake for strenuous activities.
"It's a killing activity and I think the – my age, ako hindi masyado kasi nagma-marijuana ako eh para magising. Sa iba, hindi na kaya," he said on Monday, December 3 during the conferment of awards for the ASEAN National Organizing Committee in Malacañang.
(It's a killing activity and I think the – my age, me not so much because I take marijuana to stay awake. It doesn't work, with others.)
Marijuana's effects on persons may differ. According to online medical information resource WebMD, marijuana is used to relieve pain and help a person relax. It can also heighten a person's senses. It also alleviates nausea or the feeling of throwing up from chemotherapy.
Later that day, in an interview with reporters, Duterte said he was only joking.
"Of course it was a joke," he said, adding that such "humor" is part of his "style."
Complaining about ASEAN summits
Duterte had spent the first part of his speech complaining about his schedule when he attends the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summits, held every year in a Southeast Asian country.
In the last summit, held in Singapore, he had missed 5 major events in order to take "power naps," according to Malacañang.
"You know, we start at 8:30 in the morning…and we end up almost 10, 11. And it's every 30 minutes...Baka akala nitong ASEAN Secretariat Boy Scout kami. Hindi ko kaya 'yan," he said.
(Maybe the ASEAN Secretariat thinks we're Boy Scouts. I can't take it.)
Duterte thinks ASEAN leaders meetings should be reserved for only "urgent matters," and that other topics should be left to lower-level officials.
"You have to give that to the TWG (technical working group) or at least on the lower echelons, the ministerial. We only take the most important...only the urgent and immediate concerns of ASEAN," he said.
However, ASEAN leaders' meetings are always preceded by meetings by ASEAN ministers and technical working groups, precisely in preparation for the leaders' meetings.
Aside from saying he takes marijuana, Duterte has previously said he has used fentanyl patches in order to address pains from past injuries.
In his Monday speech, he even complained about the food served in ASEAN summits. He said this has forced him to bring his favorite local food, canned beef and dried fish and that preparing them makes his hotel room stink.
"Pangit pa ng mga ulam, susmaryosep...Andiyan yung Protocol, magbaon ako ng Karne Norte pati tuyo," said Duterte.
(The food is awful, my god...I have to bring Karne Norte and dried fish.)
In the same speech, being aired live online, Duterte claimed Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah even sleeps during leaders' meetings.
"'Wag kang maingay ha, pero si Bolkiah nakatulog na pala. He has that talent na – hindi gumaganon, pikit lang. It is as if he is contemplating of his oil," said Duterte.
(Don't be a big mouth but Bolkiah has also fallen asleep. He has that talent – of just closing his eyes. It is as if he is contemplating of his oil.) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.