Philippine Senator and potential presidential contender Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is no longer pulling punches when it comes to criticizing the outgoing administration of President Rodrgio Duterte.
Pacquiao came out with fists blazing as he accepted the challenge of Duterte to prove the senator’s allegations of corruption in the government.
“Tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Salamat po at binigyan nyo kami ng pagkakataon na tumulong sa inyo at bigyan kayo ng mga impormasyon para kampanya kontra korapsyon (I am accepting the challenge of President Rodrigo Duterte. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you and provide information for the campaign against corruption),” Pacquiao said in a June 29 statement.
On June 28, Duterte said that Pacquiao should name corrupt government offices to prove that well-known boxer is not just politicking ahead of a presidential election next year.
“Ang Pangulo mismo ang nagbanggit sa kanyang pahayag noong October 27, 2020 na lalong lumalakas ang korapsyon sa gobyerno. In his own words sinabi niya na ” I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption kasi hanggang ngayon hindi humihina lumalakas pa lalo (It is the President himself who mentioned in his announcement on October 27, 2020 that corruption in government has become bolder. In his own words, he said ‘I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption because until now [corruption] has not weakened, in fact, it has become stronger).’ Mr. President I feel the same way,” said Pacquiao in the statement.
“Mawalang galang po mahal na Pangulo, ngunit hindi ako sinungaling. May mga naging pagkakamali ako sa buhay na aking itinuwid at itinama nguni’t dalawang bagay ang kaya kong panghawakan. Hindi ako tiwali at hindi ako sinungaling (With due respect to the beloved President, but, I am not a liar. I have some mistakes in my life that I am now trying to correct, but I have two things with me. I am not corrupt and I am not a liar),” he added.
“Magsimula tayo sa DoH (Department of Health). Silipin at busisiin natin lahat ng mga binili mula sa rapid test kits, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), masks at iba pa. Handa ka ba Secretary Francisco Duque [3rd] na ipakita ang kabuuan ng iyong ginagastos? Saan napunta ang pera na inutang natin para sa pandemya? (Let’s start with the DOH. Let us look and scrutinize everything that were purchased, such as rapid test kits, PPE, masks and more. Secretary Francisco Duque, are you ready to show all the amount that you have spent? Where did the money go, the amount that we loaned for the pandemic?),” Pacquiao stated.
“Nakakalungkot na sa isyu ng korapsyon kami magtatalo, dahil ang kailangan ng bansa ay mga lider na magtutulungan laban dito (It is sad that we will fight on the issue of corruption, because the country needs leaders who will unite against it),” he also said.
Meanwhile, Duterte spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said on June 29 that the president wanted his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Caprio, to run for president in the upcoming 2022 elections.
However, Duterte-Caprio refused, according to Roque.
In a virtual press briefing, Roque Jr. said Duterte-Carpio’s refusal prompted the President to consider endorsing Pacquiao, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. because of their “numbers.”
“Ang gusto kong tumakbo talaga si Inday Sara pero ayaw niya talaga. So kinakailangan mamili tayo who has the numbers between sa tatlo (I want Inday Sara to run but she refused. So we must choose who has the numbers between the three),” Roque said, remembering the President’s remarks.
“Ang unang unang sinabi niya, Senator Manny Pacquiao, pangalawa Isko Moreno, pangatlo, former senator Bongbong Marcos (First he said Senator Manny Pacquiao, second Isko Moreno, and third former senator [Ferdinand] Bongbong Marcos [Jr.]),” he added.
Duterte-Carpio, 43, has been pegged as a strong contender to succeed her father in 2022.
The Davao City mayor, however, had rejected calls, stressing that “continuity is not based on kinship.”
“Continuity is not based on kinship. Anybody can continue the gains of a previous administration, President Duterte did that for President [Benigno] Aquino [3rd],” Duterte-Carpio said in a media report.
She had also rejected joining a national political party amid rumors that his father’s ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), is considering her as standard bearer in 2022.
The President previously cautioned his daughter against running in 2022, claiming that being president is not a woman’s job.
Roque, however, insisted that the President has remained “consistent” about his view on his daughter’s possible presidential run.
Aspiring candidates have until October to decide whether they will file their certificate of candidacy for next year’s polls.
Also, a ranking official of the ruling PDP-Laban warned Pacquiao against accusing the Duterte administration of corruption.
Party Vice Chairman and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said it was “unfortunate” that Pacquiao “openly” accused Duterte, the PDP-Laban chairman, of corruption while he was still part of the party as acting president.
“Hindi naman siguro tama ‘yun na sarili mong bahay susunugin mo. If you don’t like your house… don’t say something about it, lumayas ka muna bago mo sunugin ang bahay mo (It is not right to burn your own house. If you don’t like your house… don’t say something about it, leave first before you burn your house down),” Cusi said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Tuesday after the President criticized the senator for supposedly claiming his administration was more corrupt than the previous one.
Cusi also revealed that Pacquiao was made acting president of the party in December last year without the knowledge of President Duterte and key officials of the party.
The PDP-Laban will hold an election this July 17.
PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag had refused to confirm if the party will replace Pacquiao in the upcoming party elections.
Matibag said he does not want to preempt what will happen during the assembly but assured that there will be a fair process in the removal of its members.
Also, Cusi said that a vast majority of the PDP-Laban members are inclined to support a possible tandem between Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and President Duterte in the May 2022 national elections.
Cusi claimed that at least 90 percent of the party’s members would back Duterte if he decided to accept calls for him to join the vice presidential race with Go as his standard-bearer.
“I think kung magdedesisyon si Presidente, example lang, sabihin ni Pangulo, ‘Sige, tatakbo ako nang bise presidente pero ang gusto kong ka-tandem ko si Bong Go,’ will the party accept that? Sasabihin natin siguro mahina ang 90 percent na susuporta (I think if the President will make a decision, if, for example, the President says, ‘OK, I will run for vice president, but I want a tandem with Bong Go,’ will the party accept that? Let’s say a 90-percent support will be considered low),” Cusi said during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“That is my personal belief, considering the clamor that I have seen when we were going around. Based on that, 90-percent support would be quite low should President Duterte decide to run,” Cusi added.
On June 28, Duterte expressed his openness to join the vice presidential race in 2022 if there is space for him.
“It’s not at all a bad idea, and if there is space for me there siguro pero kung wala akong (maybe, but if there is no) space [for me] and everybody is crowding up wanting to be one, vice president, sila na lang muna kasi tapos na ako (I’ll just allow them since I am done already),” Duterte said during his weekly address.
The President earlier said he would resist calls for him to run for vice president, saying he was ready for retirement.