President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said he never promised Filipinos that he would retake the West Philippine Sea during his presidential campaign in 2016.
“I never, never in my campaign as president, promised the people that I would retake the West Philippine Sea. I did not promise that I would pressure China. I never mentioned about China and the Philippines in my campaign because it was a very serious matter,” Duterte said in his regular address to the nation.
“I never promised anything. Just because I’m president you want me now to pick a fight?” he added.
Duterte’s staunch remarks came following the accusations of retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario of him not protecting the sovereignty of pur country’s territorial waters.
However, based on his latest statement, President Duterte seemed to be contradicting himself as he mentioned during the 2016 presidential campaign that he will be riding a jet ski to plant a Philippine flag in the Spratlys.
In the same speech, Duterte appealed to China to let Filipino fishermen fish “in peace” in the disputed waters.
“Kindly let our fishermen to fish in peace. There is no reason for trouble. If there is one brewing, we can talk immediately to solve the problem,” he said.