Pacquiao accepts Duterte dare, names Duque-led DOH
(This version includes the latest statement from Senator Manny Pacquiao.)
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao accepted on Tuesday the challenge posed by President Rodrigo Duterte, and declared that he would name corrupt government agencies in the current administration.
Pacquiao identified the Duque-led Department of Health, telling investigators to begin inspecting the rapid test kits, personal protective equipment, masks, and other items bought by that department.
“Tinatanggap ko ang hamon ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte. Salamat po at binigyan nyo kami ng pagkakataon na tumulong sa inyo at bigyan kayo ng mga impormasyon para kampanya kontra korapsyon,” Pacquiao said in a statement.
(I accept President Duterte’s challenge. Thank you for allowing us to help you in the fight against corruption.)
“Mawalang galang po mahal na Pangulo, nguni’t hindi ako sinungaling. May mga naging pagkakamali ako sa buhay na aking itinuwid at itinama nguni’t dalawang bagay ang kaya kong panghawakan. Hindi ako tiwali at hindi ako sinungaling,” he added.
(With all due respect, I’m not a liar. I have made many mistakes in my life that I have corrected, but there are two things that I am certain of. I’m not corrupt and I’m not a liar.)
On Monday night, Duterte told Pacquiao to name corrupt agencies or else he would campaign against him in the 2022 national elections.
“If you fail to do that, I will campaign against you because you are not doing your duty. Do it because, if not, I will just tell the people: Do not vote for Pacquiao because he is a liar,” Duterte had said.
“I am not questioning your ability, intellectually or what,” the President went on. “But if you can’t do that, I will be after you every day. I will expose you as a liar.”
Nevertheless, Pacquiao cited Duterte’s own statement from last October about corruption in government “growing stronger.”
“In his own words sinabi niya na ‘I will concentrate the last remaining years of my term fighting corruption kasi hanggang ngayon hindi humihina lumalakas pa lalo.’ Mr. President I feel the same way,” the boxing champ-turned-politician said.
Start with Duque-led DOH
Pacquiao specifically mentioned the Department of Health (DOH), saying the government should investigate possible corruption within the agency.
“Magsimula tayo sa DOH. Silipin at busisiin natin lahat ng mga binili mula sa rapid test kits, PPE (personal protective equipment), masks at iba pa. Handa ka ba Sec. Francisco Duque na ipakita ang kabuuan ng iyong ginagastos? Saan napunta ang pera na inutang natin para sa pandemya?” he said.
(Let’s start with the DOH. Let’s take a look and scrutinize all the rapid test kits, the PPE sets, masks and other items it procured. Are you ready, Sec. Francisco Duque, to show everything that the DOH has spent? Where did all of the money we borrow for the pandemic response go?)
The senator further said he was saddened that issues on corruption are causing a rift between him and the President.
“Nakakalungkot na sa isyu ng korapsyon kami magtatalo, dahil ang kailangan ng bansa ay mga lider na magtutulungan laban dito,” Pacquiao went on.
(Sadly, this corruption issue will cause us to fight, for the country’s leaders need to fight together against corruption.)
Pacquiao’s name has been floated as among the possible presidential candidates for 2022. At least two of his colleagues in the Senate have said that he expressed interest in running for the top post in the coming elections.
Pacquiao has not yet announced which post he plans to seek next year.
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