Duterte-Pacquiao showdown looms: President threatens to campaign against boxing icon if he can't prove corruption claims

President Duterte warned Senator Manny Pacquiao that he will "expose him as a liar" if he cannot substantiate his claims that the current administration is three times more corrupt than its predecessor.

President Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao

In his pre-recorded public address, President Duterte challenged Pacquiao to prove his claims instead of playing politics amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

"I'm challenging him. Ituro mo ang opisina na korap at ako na ang bahala. Within one week may gawin ako (Name the office involved in corruption and I will take care of it within a week)," he said.

"Maglista ka, Pacquiao. Ilista mo yung mga tao at opisina at dahil nilista mo na noon at ibigay mo sa akin (Make a list, Pacquiao. List down the people and the office involved in corruption. You should have done that long ago and gave it to me)," he added.

However, the President said that he will personally campaign against the world-renowned boxer if he cannot prove his allegations, noting that Pacquiao was aspiring to become the next president of the country.

"If you will fail to do that, I will campaign against you, because you are not doing your duty," Duterte addressed Pacquiao.

"Do it, because if you will not, I will just tell the people, 'Do not vote for Pacquiao because he is a liar,'" he added.

"'Pag hindi (If you cannot prove that), you'll just be another son of a bitch playing politics," he continued.

Pacquiao has been reported to be seeking the presidency in next year's polls. He is the acting president of the ruling PDP-Laban Party while President Duterte serves as its chairman.

Last month, PDP-Laban adopted a resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president next year. In his public address on Monday, June 28, the President said it was not a bad idea but noted that his decision would depend on his presidential candidate.

Last week, the President said he will support the candidacy of House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez for vice president in the 2022 polls.