Duterte, Pacquiao renew friendship after public rift

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday night, Nov. 9. | Photo from Pacquiao’s office

PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has met with Senator Manny Pacquiao to “renew” their friendship after months of infighting within their political party, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday, November 10, confirmed that the Chief Executive had a “short and cordial” meeting with Pacquiao on Tuesday night, November 9.

“We confirm that Senator Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao met President Rodrigo Roa Duterte last night, November 9. It was a short and cordial meeting requested by the camp of the good Senator,” he said in a statement.

According to Roque, there was no talk about politics when Duterte and Pacquiao met.

“There was no talk of politics, but a renewal of friendship,” the spokesman noted.

Further, he said that the meeting focused on several matters that would benefit Filipinos.

“It was a meeting between two national leaders from Mindanao who discussed certain matters related to people’s concern in their area, specifically in the infrastructure and power industry,” explained Roque.

Duterte once considered Pacquiao to be his ally.

However, the two started engaging in a verbal war after Pacquiao criticized Duterte’s “lacking” stance on the maritime dispute with China. He also accused the Duterte administration of corruption.

Duterte, in response, told Pacquiao to “study first.” He also called the boxer-turned-senator “punch-drunk.”

The rift between the two caused a schism within the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Laban ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), creating two factions — one led by Pacquiao and the other by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

As a result, the ruling party yielded two sets of presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2022 national elections.

Pacquiao: The fight continues

Pacquiao assured that he will not withdraw from the presidential race after his meeting with Duterte.

“Walang atrasan. Tuloy ang laban. (We will not back out. The fight is on),” he said Thursday, Nov. 11.

“Hindi nagbabago ang paninindigan ko sa pagtakbo bilang Pangulo (My stance in running for president remains unchanged),” he added.

Pacquaio also said that his stance on corruption remains unchanged, vowing that he will jail the corrupt.

“Ipakulong ang mga kawatan at i-angat ang buhay ng mga mahihirap nating kababayan. Hindi ako trapo mag-isip. Ang panalo ko ang magpapanalo sa buhay ng bawat Pilipino (I will imprison the thieves and I will uplift the lives of poor people. I don’t think like a traditional politician. My victory is what will make the lives of every Filipino feel like they won as well),” he said.

In October, Pacquiao filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in the 2022 national elections.

He will run under the Probinsya Muna Development Initiative (PROMDI), the national party founded by the late former Cebu governor Lito Osmeña.

PROMDI is also part of the MP3 alliance, along with Pacquiao’s faction at Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and the People’s Champ Movement (PCM).

The 2022 national elections will be held on May 9, 2022. n

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at [email protected].

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