MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Manny Pacquiao has an appeal to voters in the upcoming 2022 national elections: If you can’t vote for me to “fight for you,” then don’t vote for a candidate who will loot the government’s coffers.
Pacquiao made the remark as he stressed his vow to put behind bars officials involved in corrupt activities should he be elected as the country’s next president.
“Ang taumbayan ngayong eleksyon na ito, nasa inyong mga kamay ang kinabukasan ng ating bayan… Kung hindi nyo kayang iboto si Manny Pacquiao para kayo ay ipaglaban, ay wag po kayong bumoto siguro ng kandidato na nagnanakaw sa ating gobyerno,” Pacquiao said in a press conference.
(The future of our country is now in the hands of our countrymen. If you cannot vote for Manny Pacquiao to fight for you, do not vote for a candidate who will steal from the government.)
“Kailangan pumili tayo ng mga honest na leader. Pero kung kaya n’yo, bigyan nyo ako ng pagkakataon, papakitain ko kayo kung paano ako maging champion sa pagseserbisyo,” he added.
(We should pick an honest leader. But if you can, give me a chance, and I will show you how I can be a champion in public service.)
Pacquiao likewise insisted that he was only “mad” at the issue of corruption—and not President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pacquiao made the remark after he was asked if he is willing to rebuild his friendship with Duterte. Pacquiao has criticized Duterte over his policies and handling of specific issues, particularly the West Philippine Sea, prompting the President to retaliate and advise the senator to “study first.”
“Hindi naman kami nagka-away. Hindi naman masama ang loob ko sa kanya. Ako naman kasi, sinabi ko sa Pangulo na hindi naman ako galit sa Pangulo, ang galit ako yung mga korapsyon, ‘yung mga kawatan,” Pacquiao said.
(We did not fight. I do not have hard feelings against him. Like I told the President, I am not mad at him. I’m only angry at corruption.)
“’Yung korapsyon issue ang galit ako kasi yun ang dahilan bakit tayo naghirap. ‘Yan ang dahilan bakit naghihirap ang ating bansa mula noon hanggang ngayon,” he added.
(I am mad at corruption because that is the reason why we are poor. That’s the reason why the Philippines is poor then and now.)