Pacquiao hits back at Duterte: ‘I’m a Filipino voicing what needs to be said on WPS issue’
MANILA, Philippines — The exchange of barbs between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao did not show some signs of abating, with discussion now shifting to the latter’s knowledge on foreign policy.
Duterte on Tuesday night chided Pacquiao, an administration ally and president of the ruling political party PDP Laban, for his “shallow” understanding of the issues regarding the West Philippine Sea, with an advice for the senator to “study” first on foreign policy to understand his actions, as well as his administration’s pivot to China.
Smarting from the rebuke, Pacquiao said Wednesday that he was merely echoing the sentiments of fellow Filipinos, especially in light of his failure to deliver on his campaign promise.
“I respect the President’s opinion but humbly disagree with his assessment of my understanding of foreign policy. I am a Filipino voicing out what needs to be said in defense of what has been adjudicated as rightfully ours,” he said in a statement.
The senator further said that Duterte was “misinformed regarding his (Pacquiao) statement on the WPS issue.”
“I regret that the President was misinformed regarding my statement on the West Philippine Sea issue. I firmly believe that my statement reflects the sentiment of the majority of the Filipinos, that we should stand strong in protecting our sovereign rights while pursuing a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the dispute,” he claimed.
Pacquiao earlier said that Duterte’s stance on the disputed waters had softened compared to when he was running for the presidency when the latter had promised to go to the WPS and plant the Philippine flag.
“Narinig natin bago mag-election, sa pangangampanya, nung sinabi niya na mag-jet ski siya, dala yung watawat ng Pilipinas doon, e siyempre, kahit ako sa puso ko, ito na yung iboboto ko dahil ito yung dapat na presidente, kailangan natin, na pinaglalaban yung bansa natin,” said Pacquiao.
(We heard what he said before the elections as he was campaigning that he was going to ride a jet ski carrying the Philippine flag to the Spratlys, so of course, I felt it in my heart to vote for him because that’s the kind of president that we need; someone who will fight for our country.)
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