Despite being in the same party, the two have fought an ugly war of words
Boxing legend Emmanuel « Manny » Pacquiao, once an ally of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, has turned on the strong man in the country and started a battle with the most powerful man in the archipelago while the country is in the elections in the year Prepared in 2022.
Although Pacquiao and Duterte are in the same ruling party, the boxer – once one of Duterte’s most loyal allies – recently said the current government was more corrupt than its predecessor. Angry, Duterte asked the southpaw to “name” the names of corrupt officials in his government and threatened to “expose” the boxer on a daily basis.
“I’m not saying that there is no corruption, so expose it”, Duterte said in a televised national address late that evening. « If you don’t, I’ll expose you as a liar every day … I’ve known you from way back. » The president, who is known for berating his enemies, also used a swear phrase against the boxer.
Pacquiao, in turn, said he accepted Duterte’s challenge and set the stage for a battle between the Philippines’ most famous athlete and its deadliest politician. « I’ve had mistakes in life that I’ve corrected, but I can hold on to two things. I’m not corrupt and a liar, « Pacquiao said on Tuesday.
Pacquiao’s career in politics, which spanned over ten years, has been waiting for him to come of age to run for president – in the Philippines Candidates must be at least 40 years old on the day of the election. Pacquiao, now 42, missed the chance in the 2016 elections – but is now considered one of the front-runners for the 2022 race. Pacquiao had said he was ready to run for president « If there is a place for me ».
While Duterte is prevented from running again by the Philippine Constitution, his daughter Sara, who is also mayor of Davao City, may contemplate campaigning. Both Duterte and Pacquiao are members of the ruling PDP Laban party, of which Pacquiao is president and Duterte is chairman.
The party recently passed a resolution calling on Duterte will run for vice-president and elect his own candidate for president. With the ball in Duterte’s court, the open battle of words between the boxer and President Pacquiao’s carefully constructed power struggle could end.
Pacquiao now faces two fights – a boxing match against the undefeated Errol Spencer Jr. in Las Vegas on August 21 and a political one in the Philippines against the man whose regime has been blamed for thousands of extrajudicial killings since Duterte came to power.
Should Duterte close the door to Pacquiao’s presidential candidacy, it paves the way for him to run for independent – not a long chance given its immense popularity in the nation of 110 million people. An independent run can lead to the PDP-Laban’s vote base being split, giving rivals an advantage. Such an outcome is reportedly not favored even within the party. PDP-Laban’s executive director Ron Munsayac said party members are still confident in Pacquiao’s leadership, the Inquirer reported.
« We see no way he will be removed from his post because we are from his Leadership are convinced, and this view also comes from our base members, « he was quoted as saying.
In a poll in April, Sara Duterte remained the top candidate – even though she insisted that she was not interested in running. </ The independent Pulse Asia poll found that 27 percent of 2,400 respondents would vote against 13 other proposed candidates for mayoress of Davao City, Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Another dynast, Ferdinand « Bongbong » Marcos Jr . – Son of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos – was the second most popular candidate.
The Liberal Party – the second largest after the PDP Lagan – last week had one of its most famous leaders, the former Gen President Benigno « Noynoy » Aquino III, lost to kidney failure. Aquino was President of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016. Vice President Leni Gerona Robredo has yet to confirm a presidential nomination, but with Aquino’s death she is touted as a possible candidate.
Another progressive leader, academic Walden Bello, has launched a signature campaign to collect up to 300,000 signatures, to see if he’s running for president.
Against these opponents, Pacquiao faces the challenge of being seen as a longtime ally of Duterte’s politics – including his support for his controversial drug war that resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings. However, Duterte benefited from a « tough stance on crime, » and a similar approach seems appropriate from Pacquiao, who called for the reintroduction of the death penalty in the country.
While Duterte is known for having verbal brawls with his opponents, he is not averse to making peace – in 2018 he apologized for using a swear phrase against former US President Barack Obama. If the anticipation of a split vote can secure another term for the LDP-Lagan, he could bury the hatchet with the eighth division world champion.
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