For Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Senator Manny Pacquiao’s “whistleblowing” on alleged corruption in the Duterte government “is just an attempt to remain relevant” while the lawmaker is away.
“Sen. Pacquiao’s unfounded allegations involving billions of pesos seems to be an attempt to remain relevant so that people will continue to talk about him while he is abroad doing his job and getting paid millions of dollars,” Cusi said in a statement.
“As with all whistleblowers, he should be held accountable for his statements, and be responsible enough not to issue a defamatory statement and then just up and leave,” said Cusi of his party-mate, Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who is also an active boxer, serves as president of the ruling party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). Cusi is the vice-chairman, while President Duterte is the chairman.
“Pacman”, boxing’s only eight-division world champion, left for Los Angeles in the United States (US) on Sunday afternoon, July 4 to train for his high-stakes clash against American welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Their title fight will be on August 21 in Las Vegas, also in the US. As such, the fighting senator is expected to remain stateside until after the bout.
Before leaving the Philippines, the 42-year-old Pacquiao claimed that there was corruption in the DOE, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). He earlier said that there were irregularities in the Department of Health (DOH) as well.
“Any allegation of corruption is a serious matter. Sen. Manny Pacquiao must himself prove it with substantial and convincing evidence,” Cusi said.
“There was no corruption in the establishment of the IMO [Independent Market Operator] The establishment of a market operator (IEMOP) [Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines] was in compliance with the EPIRA [Electric Power Industry Reform Act] law,” the DOE chief added.
President Duterte had earlier challenged Pacquiao to name the specific agencies under his administration that are marred with corruption.
Pacquiao is widely believed to be running for president in the May 2022 polls, something that he has yet to confirm.