From Binay’s slate, Pacquiao says he’s always been for Duterte
DAVAO CITY—Pacman has always been in Digong’s corner.
And Manny Pacquiao’s sticking with losing presidential bet Vice President Jejomar Binay until the end of the campaign was merely his obligation to honor his agreement with the defeated presidential candidate.
Or so he says.
The boxer, who has been recently proclaimed as a winning senatorial candidate, revealed this on Saturday as he went to this city to meet with Duterte and express his support for the new administration which promises a total overhaul of the government system to supposedly improve the lives of Filipinos.
“Noon pa man hanggang ngayon ang suporta ko na kay Digong (Even before, I have always been supportive of Digong),” Pacquiao, wearing a basketball uniform, said when asked if he would join the majority bloc in the Senate in favor of the new administration.
Before meeting with Duterte, the new Senator-elect challenged Duterte’s running mate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano to a friendly basketball match at the Almendras Gymnasium in Davao City.
Asked what he would discuss with now former Davao City Mayor, Pacquiao said: “‘Yung suporta ko para sa mga advocacies niya para sa pagbabago ng bansa ((I will discuss with him) my support for his advocacies to improve the country’s state).”
Unaffected by political butterfly tag
Saying that being called a political butterfly does not affect him, Pacquiao, who ran for Senator under the opposition party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), explained why he decided to stay with the Binay party.
“Eh di lumipat na sana ako noon? Pinakita ko lang sa kanila ‘yung pagiging firm ko sa desisyon ko, na kapag nag-desisyon ka panindigan mo (Then I should have changed allegiances then? I just proved to them that I was firm with my decision, that I was going to stand by my decision),” he said.
The outgoing Sarangani lawmaker also recalled the time when Duterte was still hesitating to join the presidential derby last year.
Pacquiao said he was one of those who fervently tried to convince the mayor to run for the highest post in the land.
“Bago pa man ang filing, isa ako sa nag-encourage kay Mayor na tumakbo. Up to the last minute, isa ako sa mga nagencourage na tumakbo pero hindi siya tumakbo,” he said.
(Even before the filing, I was one of those who encouraged Mayor to run. Up to the last minute, I was still encouraging him, but he did not file his candidacy.)
After Duterte decided not to file a certificate of candidacy before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in October, Pacquiao said he then spoke with Binay and eventually agreed to join Binay’s senatorial slate.
“After a month, nag-decide siya (Duterte) na tumakbo kaso naka-commit na ako. Nakakahiya naman na magbago ako ng desisyon. ‘Yon talaga ang story. Ang ginagawa ko, pinapakita ko na kapag committed ka na sa isang tao, committed ka na, ‘wag ka nang lumipat,” Pacquiao explained.
(After a month, he decided to run, but I was already committed (to Binay). It would have been embarrassing for me to change my decision. That was the true story. What I did was show that if you are already committed to one person, you cannot change sides.)
In November, Duterte finally decided to run for presidency.
‘Binay supports Duterte too’
Did he have a formal parting of ways with Binay?
Pacquiao answered in the affirmative and added that even Binay is supportive of Duterte and the advocacies of his administration.
It may be recalled that Binay was the last presidential candidate who conceded defeat to Duterte, who won the race by a landslide win.
While Pacquiao reiterated that he was originally affiliated with Duterte’s party PDP-Laban before joining Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party, he said that newly-elected officials should not focus on political parties anymore.
He continued: “Bakit isipin natin ‘yung partido-partido? Ang importante isipin natin ang pagbabago. Suportahan natin ang bagong administrasyon at lahat ng advocacies niya para sa pagbabago.”
(Why would we focus on parties? What’s important is for us to focus on change. Let’s just support the new administration and its advocacies for change.) IDL
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