GLOBAL ONE NEWS (G1)—Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said he uses marijuana to stay awake amid his demanding activities.

The president’s statement made headlines on Nov. 3 during his speech in an event in Malacañang.

Duterte said, “It’s a killing activity… I take marijuana to stay awake. It doesn’t work, with others.”

When asked of his controversial remark, Duterte told reporters, “Of course it was a joke.”

The use and possession of marijuana are illegal in the country. Offenders could be fined up to ₱10 million ($190,000) and could be subjected to life imprisonment.

Seventy-three-year-old Duterte previously faced backlash after missing several meetings during the ASEAN summit to take “power naps” last month in Singapore.

CNN reported Duterte suggested only the “important, the most urgent, the most immediate” should be discussed there.