CEBU CITY — The November 9 meeting at the Malacañang Palace between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao was something that caught them by surprise.
This was revealed by Pacquiao, who denied gatecrashing the Malacanang just to meet the president.
In a press briefing on Sunday after a meeting with various sectors here, Pacquiao said he was told that the meeting had been pre-arranged by the Senator’s common friend.
“I was surprised when a friend who knows someone from Malacañang told me that the President wants to talk to me. Who am I to refuse to talk to the President,” said Pacquiao in mix Cebuano and Filipino.
In respect to the President, Pacquiao said he went to the Malacañang but Duterte was surprised to see him there.
“That’s the real story. The President was also surprised because he didn’t know that we were going to meet,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao said he took the opportunity to apologize to the President for his strong remarks against corruption in the government.
The relationship of the two had gone sour as they engaged in word war after Pacquiao’s tirade that corruption remains rampant in the Duterte administration.
“I apologized. I said sorry if he was offended by my comments in my fight against corruption,” Pacquiao said.
It was also during the meeting that the President told Pacquiao that he can no longer support his presidential bid.
“He told me that he has already chosen someone. I did not ask who anymore. He said he has chosen a candidate because it was only the first time that we were able to meet after a long while. I told him it was alright and that I respect his decision,” Pacquiao said.