MANILA, Philippines — As if wanting to earn brownie points from the driving force behind his 2016 candidacy, President Rodrigo Duterte disowned his signature gesture, saying the fist bump was originally popularized by former President Fidel Ramos.
“Former President Fidel V. Ramos, he owns the brand fist actually, it’s not mine. During his time, it was his logo actually. Kaya ba natin ‘to [Can we do this]? Kaya! That was his punch line. And indeed, we succeeded very well during his time,” Duterte said during the Asean Business and Investment Summit on Sunday.
The President also praised Ramos for helping the Philippine economy grow, saying the country’s financial standing started to improve during the latter’s administration and he was hoping that progress would continue.
“The Philippines is doing well. It has been consistently improving since the time of President Ramos and as — we have maintained the 6.1 (percent growth),” said Duterte.
The chief executive disclosed last year that it was Ramos who first flew to Davao in 2015 to convince him to seek the country’s post.
Duterte said he met Ramos for three hours at the city’s Marco Polo Hotel and told him that, “It is time that Mindanao will have a president.”
Despite’s Ramos’ support, the former chief executive often criticizes the President.
In September 2017, Ramos said the Philippines continued to “lose badly” under the Duterte administration.
“So much division among brothers and sisters in the same family that’s happening now. And what I’m saying, there’s too much division in our Filipino family for us to really reach our full potential of being competitive in the world,” Ramos said.
Last May, Ramos assailed government officials who went with Duterte to Russia, claiming they turned the President’s official visit into a “junket.”
Ramos also said there was “failure of organization” within the Duterte administration after reporters asked him if failure of intelligence was to blame for the Maute group attack on Marawi.
In October 2016, the former President said the current administration had been a “huge disappointment and letdown” because Duterte chose to prioritize the war on drugs campaign instead of making poverty, living costs, foreign investment and jobs as his top concerns.
Days after quitting as Duterte’s special envoy to China at the end of October last year, Ramos castigated the President over his inaction on the international climate pact.
He said Duterte “is unwittingly shooting himself in the mouth, and also all of us, 101.5 million Filipinos” and “has done little to move the Paris Agreement forward”.