Pacquiao vows to put corrupt officials behind bars, if elected president
CEBU CITY––Senator and presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao took another swipe at politicians who steal money from government coffers, saying he decided to run for the country’s top position so corrupt officials will rot in jail.
Speaking at the relaunch of Abag-Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives (Promdi), the political party founded by the late Cebu governor Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmeña, Pacquiao did not mince words against corruption that he vowed to eradicate if elected president.
“You want to know why I’m so angry at thieves working for the government? I came from nothing. I know how it feels like when the government itself steals your hard-earned money,” he said in a speech he delivered Sunday in a mix of Cebuano and Tagalog at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cebu City.
“I am doing this (running for president) not for myself, but for those who are affected (by corruption). I decided to run because I know what I’m doing. That’s my hope, to see them (corrupt officials) together in jail,” he added.
Pacquiao clarified that he was not attacking President Duterte, a former ally, but all individuals and politicians who steal government funds, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am just saying what the reality is, what is happening with our government at present,” said Pacquiao, the official candidate for president of one faction of the now-divided Partido Demokratikong Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
The Senate blue ribbon committee is investigating Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. after it bagged over P8 billion worth of COVID-19 contracts.
Pharmally, which has links to President Duterte’s former economic adviser Michael Yang, won these deals even if it reportedly lacked the track record to engage in big government procurement.
During Sunday’s activity, Pacquiao was named “honorary chairperson” of Promdi. He stressed his commitment to fight for the underprivileged while highlighting his rags-to-riches story.
Mimo Osmeña, the son of Lito and Abag-Promdi party president, said the country needs “a new type of leadership,” one that “understands the needs of the people, (and) a leader who follows his heart.”
“We need a champion who will fight for freedom, freedom from poverty, freedom from sickness, and freedom from fear,” Mimo said.
During an interview after the event, Pacquiao said he would soon announce the local candidates he would support in the forthcoming elections.
Abag-Promdi’s kickoff was held five days before Oct. 1, the start of filing of certificates of candidacy for the May 2022 elections.
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