THE political spat between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao is slowly heating up and by the looks of it, is headed towards a collision course.
The Chief Executive hinted at campaigning against the Fighting Senator and boxing champion over statements claiming his administration is three times more corrupt as compared to the previous administrations.
In a viral video of a media interview where Pacquiao – in his capacity as the President of the partisan party which served as Duterte’s political vehicle during the 2016 presidential election, made a categorical claim on the proliferation of corruption under the Duterte administration.
In retaliation, an obviously pissed off Duterte dared Pacquiao to come up with a list of government offices and employees involved in corrupt practices to support his sweeping accusations depicting the administration as “three times” more corrupt than the previous administrations.
“Gaya ni Pacquiao. salita nang salita na three times daw tayo na mas corrupt. So I am challenging him. Ituro mo ang opisina na corrupt, at ako na ang bahala. Within one week, may gawin ako. Maglista ka, Pacquiao, at sinasabi mong three times kaming mas corrupt. Ilista mo ‘yung mga tao at opisina. Dapat inilista mo na ‘yan noon, at ibigay mo sa akin,” Duterte said in his most recent national address.
“Di ba ang sabi ko noon, if you come to know that is a corruption, let me know. Give me the office . . . Ganoon ang dapat na ginawa mo. Wala ka namang sinabi noong all these years, puro ka praises nang praises sa akin, tapos ngayon sabihin mo corrupt,” Duterte added.
An exasperated President went as far as compelling Pacquiao to speak up – or face the consequences of a possible doom of his political career.
“So maghintay ako sa listahan mo at sa mga tao. Matagal naman tayong magkaibigan. Hanggang kahapon, noong isang araw ka lang nagsabi ng corruption. It’s easy, really, to say. Hindi ko sinasabing walang corruption. Kaya nga ituro mo, kasi ‘yung lahat ng itinuro ng iba, pinaalis ko na sa gobyerno. I am challenging you or else talagang sabi nga nila, totoo, namumulitika ka lang,” he said.
“If you fail to do that, I will campaign against you because you are not doing your duty. Do it because if not, I will just tell the people, do not vote for Pacquiao because he is a liar,” Duterte further averred.
Pacquiao has been vocal about his plans to run for president next year, but a faction in his political party wanted somebody else – presidential daughter Sara Duterte.