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Duterte jokes about calling off ASEAN summit in November

President Rodrigo Duterte (C) presides over the plenary session among ASEAN leaders, including Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah. Photos from ASEAN pool
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte took a break from formality during a press conference Saturday night, joking about calling off the Philippines’ hosting of another Association of Southeast Asian Nations meet in November and how women seem to want to take photos with him.
 
“Anak ka ng… Kung ganito lang naman ang mga summit, kanselado na ‘yung sa November (Son of a…if summits are like this, the one scheduled in November would be canceled),” the president said upon entering the venue of the press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay.
 
“Totoo. Pareho (naman). Wala naman nagbago (That’s true. It’s the same. Nothing has changed)… We can do away with the one scheduled in November,” he added.  
 
Duterte then told acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo in jest not to hold summits in the Philippines anymore.
 
The ASEAN meet in November will include the regional bloc's dialogue partners like the United States.  
 
The president, who is used to delivering candid, freewheeling and often profanity-laced speeches stuck to his prepared statements in all his engagements as ASEAN chair last Saturday.
 
The press conference, which was attended by local and foreign journalists, was his only opportunity to deliver spontaneous remarks that day.
 
When reminded by Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar that the press conference would end in five minutes because he has a gala dinner to attend, Duterte said: “They can just go ahead and start the dinner.”
 
“We will not arrive there on time anyway. If we are late, just be late. Anyway, we are already late. It’s the idiom in my dialect is: You’re already wet, better take a bath,” he added.
 
Duterte then asked the members of the media if they are invited to the state banquet. When journalists answered in the negative, he told his aide Christopher “Bong” Go: “Paano sila? Ha? Sabi nga, huwag kayong magsummit-summit kung wala kayong pera (How about them? I told you not to hold summits if you have no money).”
 
“You (media) are invited. We can add tables and chairs there…Dinner is (at) 8:45 (p.m.). But I’ll give you until one o’clock in the morning,” he added.
 
 

'ABS-CBN trying to settle'

 
While Duterte was in a jolly mood during the press conference, he could not help but take a swipe at television network ABS-CBN, which, he claimed, wanted to settle things with him.
 
Duterte has accused the television network of biased reporting and of not airing his political advertisement even if it had accepted his payment for air time.
 
“That’s why when you antagonize somebody and it is happening to me and they come pleading for talks, puwede ba areglo (can we settle this?) Sabi ko (I said), what’s the point? Basa na ako, maliligo na tayo. I’m all wet so I might just well take a bath. Ganon ‘yan eh. ‘Yan ang isinasagot ko sa kanila ngayon (That’s how I will answer them),” Duterte said.
 
“There are a lot of people saying that now: let’s talk, let’s just forget about this thing and let us… And even ABS-CBN. Yeah.”
 
Duterte then refuted claims, not from ABS-CBN, that the network does not owe him money.
 
“I don’t know if it’s true but somebody posted in the Internet that I do not owe ABS anything because (of) what they did with my money,” the president said.
 
“But they forgot that their Davao City station gave us a letter with a corresponding check and saying that it is a reimbursement because you have a demandable and it’s a… check,” he added.
 
Duterte did not elaborate on the check, saying he would just discuss the matter next time. He even vowed to provide the media a copy of the check.
 
 
 
The president ended his press conference by giving female journalists an opportunity to take photos with him.
 
“I am not trying to be a showoff but I’ve noticed that whenever after every conference whatever it is a lot of, mostly women, who want to have a picture with me. So women, come up and we’ll have the pictures,” Duterte said.
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