Year in Review 2021: Duterte’s 10 most memorable quotes

·Contributor
·8 min read

President Rodrigo Duterte is known for his strong remarks. Yahoo Philippines compiles his most notable quips this year.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, August 30, 2019. How Hwee Young/Pool via REUTERS
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, August 30, 2019. How Hwee Young/Pool via REUTERS

Son of a b***h, that is just paper. I will throw it in the wastebasket.

Duterte made this remark on one of his late night public addresses saying that the Philippines' arbitral win against China's claims in the South China Sea was nothing but a scrap of paper amid questions on the country's stance on the ongoing territorial disputes.

Ibigay mo sa akin 'yan, sabihin ko, 'P****g ina, papel lang 'yan. Itatapon ko 'yan sa wastebasket.'

Duterte said he tried to assert the 2016 ruling against China to no avail.

In 2013, the Philippines under the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III challenged China's claims of the disputed waters. The Hague eventually ruled in favor of the Philippines on almost every count.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the arrival of the shipment of the Sinovac vaccine CoronaVac at a Philippine Air Force base in Manila, the Philippines on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/Rouelle Umali via Getty Images)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes the arrival of the shipment of the Sinovac vaccine CoronaVac at a Philippine Air Force base in Manila, the Philippines on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/Rouelle Umali via Getty Images)

Those who do not want to get vaccinated should be visited at night and get injected while they are asleep.

The chief executive said this during his Talk to the People that aired on October 12, saying that there remain people who refuse to get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Hanapin ninyo sa barangay ninyo. Akyatin natin kapag tulog at turukin natin habang natutulog.

Protesters, however, claimed that Duterte made such remarks to cover up the fact that the government is failing to procure more vaccines for the people.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte L stands beside Health Secretary Francisco Duque as they present a case containing government-purchased Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines in Manila, the Philippines, on March 29, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/Rouelle Umali via Getty Images)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte L stands beside Health Secretary Francisco Duque as they present a case containing government-purchased Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines in Manila, the Philippines, on March 29, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua/Rouelle Umali via Getty Images)

I will stand for Duque even if it will bring me down

Duterte refused to give up on Health Secretary Francisco Duque, who was in the middle of backlash over deficiencies flagged by the Commission on Audit in the Department of Health's handling of P67.3 ($1.34) billion for its COVID-19 response.

Maski mag-isa na lang ako, I will stand for Duque even if it will bring me down.

Prior to the statement, Duterte repeatedly defended Duque despite calls for him to resign over numerous controversies, including the alleged irregularities with Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth).

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his 6th State of the Nation Address (SONA), at the House of Representative in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his 6th State of the Nation Address (SONA), at the House of Representative in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

I thought it was like in Davao. You can either coerce, intimidate, or bribe them, or give the money.

Duterte said on his sixth and last State of the Nation Address on July 26 that he was overwhelmed to find out that the Philippines’s problem with illegal drugs was more deeply rooted than he had expected and involved government officials.

Duterte made the eradication of the drug menace within six months his electoral promise.

When I said I would fight drugs in six months, I thought it was like in Davao. You can either coerce, intimidate, or bribe them, or give the money and say, ‘Lumabas kayo ng Davao, doon kayo magkalat sa Luzon at sa ibang lugar.’

According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, 6,117 individuals were killed in the government's drug war. But human rights groups claim the death toll is significantly higher than the official numbers.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the media after Philippine Senator Christopher
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks to the media after Philippine Senator Christopher "Bong" Go filed his certificate of candidacy to join the vice presidential race, at Sofitel Harbor Garden Tent, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 2, 2021. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

I will run for vice president then I will continue the crusade

In a pre-recorded public address that aired on August 24, Duterte marked his first official announcement of his next political move after spurring speculations prior. He said he wanted to run for the vice president post to continue his crusade against insurgency, criminality, and illegal drugs.

Gusto talaga ninyo? O sige, tatakbo ako ng bise presidente then I will continue the crusade.

He later announced that he would retire from politics already, but also changed his plans and said he would vie for a senatorial post instead. He officially and personally filed his statement of withdrawal from the race on December 14.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte leaves after the annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Manila on July 26, 2021. (Photo: JAM STA ROSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte leaves after the annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Manila on July 26, 2021. (Photo: JAM STA ROSA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In obedience to the will of the people... I announce my retirement from politics

More than a month after he announced his interest to run for vice president, Duterte said on October 2 that he would retire from politics already. He made the announcement in a short speech shortly after his long-time aide and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go filed his certificate of candidacy for vice president.

In obedience to the will of the people, who after all placed me in the presidency many years ago, I now say sa mga kababayan ko, sundin ko ang gusto ninyo: today, I announce my retirement from politics.

More than a month later, on November 16, he announced that he would run for senator, contrary to his earlier statements about retiring from politics.

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 34th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañang Palace. (Source: ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)
President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 34th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañang Palace. (Source: ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO)

The presidency is not for women

The chief executive said during his speech at the formal opening of the Skyway Stage 3 project on January 14 that women are not cut out to be a leader of a country, in reference to his own daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president.

Hindi ito pambabae. Alam mo, the emotional setup of a woman and a man is totally different.

Duterte also said that he advised his daughter not to run for president because he would feel sorry for what she would go through, especially since the presidential post, according to him, is not for a woman to fill.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Manila on July 26, 2021. (Photo: LISA MARIE DAVID/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers his annual state of the nation address at the House of Representatives in Manila on July 26, 2021. (Photo: LISA MARIE DAVID/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

I want to cry in front of you but I have run out of tears already

Duterte, who failed to keep COVID-19 transmissions at bay despite a harsh lockdown, admitted in his weekly public address on March 29 that he was struggling to manage the pandemic.

Gusto ko na nga umiyak sa harap ninyo pero naubos na ang luha ko. Hay, buhay. Kung alam lang ninyo. Para akong dumadaan ng purgatory ngayon.

He said this just before reading the new quarantine measures for April, which would be similar to the first pandemic lockdowns declared a year ago.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the opening session of the 20th ASEAN-JAPAN Summit in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the opening session of the 20th ASEAN-JAPAN Summit in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

You, Filipinos, do not be fooled by those who are full of drama

Duterte made an indirect hit at Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on August 9 by referencing the latter's sexy photos taken back when he was an actor doing sexy roles.

Kayong mga Pilipino, 'wag kayong magpapaloko sa mga pa-drama magsalita. Nakita ko nga sa Facebook kanina, lahat ng, nakabikini ang g*g*. Tapos may isang picture pa doon na sinisilip niya 'yung ari niya.

He also said that a man with such a past should not be the president of the Philippines. This statement came after Moreno's relatively good performance in surveys on voters' preferences for possible presidential and vice-presidential candidates.

MANILA, May 3, 2021 -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte receives his first dose of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, May 3, 2021. Duterte's longtime aide and senator Christopher Bong Go posted on social media a video showing Health Secretary Francisco Duque administering the vaccine in Duterte's left arm. (Photo by Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Xinhua via Getty Images)
MANILA, May 3, 2021 -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte receives his first dose of China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines, May 3, 2021. Duterte's longtime aide and senator Christopher Bong Go posted on social media a video showing Health Secretary Francisco Duque administering the vaccine in Duterte's left arm. (Photo by Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Xinhua via Getty Images)

It’s the decision of my doctor. Anyway, it’s my life.

Duterte apologized during his Talk to the People on May 5 for receiving a dose of the Sinopharm vaccine against COVID-19, administered by Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

We are sorry that we committed the things that you are criticizing us for. We accept responsibility at ako mismo nagpaturok. Well, it’s the decision of my doctor. Anyway, it’s my life.

The Sinopharm vaccine, the same vaccine brand that was used for the Presidential Security Group last year when not even a special permit was issued for its use, was not approved for emergency use in the Philippines. Duterte received backlash from the public for using a vaccine without an emergency use authorization.

Juju Z. Baluyot is a Manila-based writer who has written in-depth special reports, news features, and opinion-editorial pieces for a wide range of publications in the Philippines. He covers societies, cultures, and gender.

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