MANILA — Malacañang on Tuesday denied that there is a rift growing between President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao ahead of the 2022 elections.
This, after boxing legend-turned-lawmaker Pacquiao said on Monday that he found Duterte's response to Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea lacking.
Asked if this signaled a brewing quarrel, Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque said, "I do not think there’s a falling out."
"Hanggang ngayon po, nananatiling napakalaking fan ni Senator Pacquiao ang ating Presidente sa larangan ng palakasan, lalo na sa larangan ng boxing," Roque he said in a press briefing.
(Until now, the President remains a big fan of Senator Pacquiao in the field of sports, especially boxing.)
Pacquiao is president of PDP-Laban, the political party that Duterte chairs.
Last March, the senator chided members of the party who urged Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections, following suggestions that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio gun for the presidency.
Duterte-Carpio topped a recent survey on most preferred presidential candidates, while Pacquiao trailed at fourth place.
Pacquiao on Monday said he has not seen a rift within PDP-Laban.
"So far, maganda naman 'yung relation namin sa PDP-Laban. Nagco-communicate tayo sa kanila from time to time," he told reporters in an online press conference.
(So far, our relationship within PDP-Laban is good. We communicate with them from time to time.)