Palace dispels alliance notion after Duterte-Pacquiao ‘friendly’ meeting

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday, November 11, dispelled rumors the meeting between President Duterte and presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao was related to forming an alliance for the 2022 national elections.

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao in Malacañang on Tuesday night, Nov. 9, 2021. (Photo from Pacquiao’s office)

In his virtual media briefing, Roque insisted the two officials just had a “friendly” meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday night, Nov. 9.

“Ang alam ko lang po eh nagkaroon ng renewal ng pagkakaibigan ang Presidente saka si Senator Manny Pacquiao (What I only know is the President and Senator Manny Pacquiao had a renewal of friendship),” Roque said.

“It was a reunion of sorts between two leaders from Mindanao. Iwan na lang po natin dun iyon sa ngayon (Let us leave it at that for now),” he added.

Both Duterte and Pacquiao belong to the feuding factions between the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP-Laban.

The two officials were accompanied by Senator Bong Go, a close ally of Duterte, and 1-PACMAN Rep. Enrico Pineda.

READ: Pacquiao, Duterte patch things up in Malacañang meeting

Asked if they are now reunited at PDP-Laban after the meeting, Roque admitted he has no personal knowledge about it because he was not present during the meeting.

“Pangalawa po (Second), what i know is what was relayed to me by both Senator Bong Go at saka (and) Mr. Eric Pineda. So sa ngayon po (So for now) it was a friendly meeting,” he said.

The Palace official added he “doesn’t know“ whether the renewed friendship between Duterte and Pacquiao will have an implication on the latter’s candidacy for president.

Duterte and Pacquiao have been at odds with one another after engaging in a an ugly word war in recent months.

The boxer-turned-senator had earlier criticized Duterte’s “lacking” stance on the maritime dispute with China and accused the Health department of graft and corruption activities.

The President retaliated by lambasting Pacquiao in public for his remarks, telling him to “study well first.” Their public spat divided the ruling PDP-Laban party.

READ: ‘Mag-aral ka muna’: Duterte hits Pacquiao over his ‘shallow knowledge’ on foreign policy