MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte used his return to the public eye to also shut down critics who called out his golf practice and motorcycle ride in the middle of one of the country’s biggest health crisis.
In a pre-recorded briefing late Monday (April 12), Duterte initially narrated how his friend, broadcaster and special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo, urged him to appear on television to quell rumors that he was sick as he is still able to do practice golf.
Duterte said he was only trying to enjoy his hobbies after working hours, then turned his attention on critic Sen. Leila de Lima, who also called out the President for supposedly staging scenes to show that he was fit to lead.
“The reason I can swing my golf club and ride a motorcycle is because I can do it,” Duterte said in Filipino.
“Now the problem is you should look into the time I enjoy my hobbies,” he said.
“Mon, that’s late night, that’s two in the morning, what is wrong with that? If I do it by the morning they would also say something—especially this De Lima,” Duterte added, using Tulfo’s nickname.
“She said I was playing golf amid a problem. But if I do it by midnight, there are still criticisms why I play golf. But son of a bitch when would I do it?” he said.
Duterte, a confessed motorcycle enthusiast, also noted that he only wanted to ride motorcycles, saying that he does it at “two o’clock in the morning” which was not “taking the people’s time.”
“I only want to ride motorcycles. That’s my plan, so by midnight, I would go out to the new superhighway, I will go to that project done by the DPWH,” Duterte said, referring to Department of Public Works and Highways.
“I want to ride my bike at night, I just need two police officers behind me to ensure that nobody would overtake. That’s all I need, I just want to ride, I think that’s not bad,” the President said.
The motorcycle and golf video footage was posted on social media by longtime Duterte aide and now Sen. Bong Go to dispel suspicions that the President was seriously ill.
Duterte’s health has been talked about much lately because his usual Monday address to the people last week had been moved to Wednesday. Both were cancelled, however, triggering the suspicions.
READ: Golf-playing, motorbike-riding Duterte chills before public address on Monday
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Duterte cancelled his address only as a precaution after several officers of the Presidential Security Group got sick with COVID-19.
Earlier, Roque also stressed that there was no need to release a medical bulletin for Duterte, saying that the President was not sick. The President pushed through with his scheduled address on Monday night.
READ: Release Duterte’s medical bulletin? President is not sick, Roque says
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.