Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Tuesday, June 29 accepted President Rodrigo Duterte’s dare and declared the Department of Health (DOH) as one of the government agencies that reeks of corruption in the current administration.
Pacquiao disclosed this in a statement after absorbing Duterte’s tirade and threat to campaign against him in the 2022 national elections if he fails to name corrupt agencies.
“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 accept the challenge of President Duterte. Thank you for giving us the chance to help you out and provide you information on the campaign against corruption),” Pacquiao said.
The Philippine’s boxing icon turned politician said the President himself publicly admitted the growing corruption under his watch during a speech last October 27, 2020.
“In his own words sinabi niya na (he said) ‘I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption kasi hanggang ngayon hindi humihina lumalakas pa lalo (because until now it is not weakening, it is growing stronger).’ Mr. President I feel the same way,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao specifically mentioned the DOH, an agency that is now at the forefront of the government’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mawalang galang po mahal na Pangulo, nguni’t 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 (I’m sorry Mr. President, but I am not a liar. There were times I made mistakes in my life that I corrected, but there are two things that I am certain of. I’m not corrupt and I’m not a liar),” Pacquiao stressed.
“Magsimula tayo sa DOH. Silipin at busisiin natin lahat ng mga binili mula sa rapid test kits, PPE , masks at iba pa (Let’s start with the DOH. Let’s look into the rapid test kits, personal protective equipment, masks and other things that the agency bought),” he pointed out.
“Handa ka ba Sec. Francisco Duque na ipakita ang kabuuan ng iyong ginagastos? Saan napunta ang pera na inutang natin para sa pandemya (Are you ready Secretary Francisco Duque to show the whole amount of your expenditures? Where did the money for the pandemic response go?)” he asked.
“Nakakalungkot na sa isyu ng korapsyon kami magtatalo, dahil ang kailangan ng bansa ay mga lider na magtutulungan laban dito (It’s saddening that issues about corruption has caused us to fight, for the country needs leaders who will unite to fight this),” he pointed out.
Though Pacquiao has yet to announce his political plans for the upcoming May 2022 polls, his name has been floated as a possible presidential contender in next year’s presidential elections.
Two colleagues in the Senate—Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson have said he is interested to run for the top post in the coming elections.
A Palace official, however, said Duterte is reportedly grooming his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to succed him as president while he is considering running for vice president.
Both Pacquiao and Duterte are stalwarts of the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban) as party president and vice chairman, respectively.