MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday appealed to former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to give him a chance to show his capabilities after being criticized for his poor attendance during his previous terms as lawmaker.
Pacquiao was the "number 1 absentee, a topnotcher in absences in Congress," Carpio said in an interview on ANC's Headstart, when asked why opposition coalition 1Sambayan would not endorse the senator as presidential candidate in next year's elections.
"That basic qualification, competence is not there," Carpio said.
"Manny Pacquiao may have a good heart, but running the country of 110 million people requires competence," he added.
Pacquiao justified his poor attendance, saying he failed to attend several plenary sessions due to work in the district he represents in Sarangani.
"I have been absent not because I want to but because I need to," he said in a statement.
"Despite some absences while in Congress, my record as a legislator can speak for itself," he said, noting that he has co-authored several measures including bills on the Free Internet Access Program and the Expanded Maternity Leave.
Pacquiao said he would keep Carpio's remarks as a "reminder to do better as public servant and as a servant of God."
"Ang panawagan ko lang po kay former Justice Antonio Carpio, ay sana’y mabigyan niyo po ako ng pagkakataong maipakilala ang tunay na Manny Pacquiao," he said.
(My request to former Justice Antonio Carpio is to give me a chance to show the real Manny Pacquiao.)
Pacquiao, the president of ruling party PDP-Laban, has not been vocal about his plans for 2022.
The boxer-turned-politician has allegedly conferred with several senators and close friends about his presidential bid, but refrained from discussing details of his plan to the media, saying politics should not be the priority during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Pulse Asia survey late last year showed Pacquiao topping the list of preferred senators if the elections were held at that time. He ranked fifth among preferred presidential candidates.