President Rodrigo Duterte made sexual innuendos anew, this time at the tail-end of a typhoon briefing, but presidential spokesperson Harry Roque shrugged off the incident as just the chief executive “lightening the mood.”
Before Duterte ended a nearly one-hour briefing on the effects of Typhoon Ulysses on the Bicol region, he teased a local official for having plenty of women.
“Classmate ko ito sa law school. Brod ko pa. Pero naubos ang panahon niya sa ano. Medyo tumanda na. Nakakatanda talaga yan. Sobrang babae? Nakakatanda yan,” Duterte said.
The official in turn retorted that he was in fact “undersexed.”
“Sabi nga po ni Cong. LRay, undersexed daw po ako. Undersexed. Kaya kung pwede po gawin mo na akong secretary para hindi na undersexed,” the local official said.
But in a press briefing, Roque said the joke was just Duterte’s way of bringing levity to the dire situation, which he said was a Filipino trait.
“Ugali na ng Pilipino na bagamat marami tayong pagsubok eh sinusubukan pa rin na i-lighten iyong ating mga problema. So hindi lang naman po iyan gawain ng ating Presidente, bagamat matagal na po iyang nangyayari,” Roque said in his regular Palace press briefing.
“Let’s not read anything beyond the fact na the President wants to more or less lighten the mood dahil buong araw wala siyang nakita kundi disaster sa Cagayan at doon sa Naga so hayaan na natin. Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng light moment yung ating president.”
In an interview over the ABS-CBN News Channel, Vice President Leni Robredo said she has not seen the video, but said that messages are important when the country is going through difficult times.
Vice President Leni Robredo reminds government officials to focus on urgent matters especially if the country is going through "something really serious."— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) November 16, 2020
This, after President Duterte and his aides exchanged sex jokes in a post-typhoon briefing in Camarines Sur. pic.twitter.com/bvqIuzfs0E
“Kapag panahon na may matindi tayong pinagdadaanan, napakahalaga yung mensahe. Napakahalaga yung mensahe na we are giving utmost urgency on things that are really urgent,” Robredo said.
“If we’re going through something really serious, it is also very important for us to communicate how urgent a particular matter is,” she added.