MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao should educate himself first before making comments on the Philippines' approach towards China amid tensions between the two countries, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
In an interview with channel SMNI, Duterte said the boxer-senator should familiarize himself first with foreign policy before criticizing the President's stance on Beijing over the West Philippine Sea.
Pacquiao earlier said he found Duterte's efforts to assert the country's exclusive economic zone rights in the South China Sea as insufficient compared to his statements when he was still running for the top post 5 years ago.
"It's about foreign policy. I would not want to degrade him (Pacquiao) but next time he should ... mag-aral ka muna ng husto (study well first)," Duterte said after reading a question regarding the senator's statement.
"Apparently this guy has a very shallow knowledge of ..." Duterte added before he trailed off.
Pacquiao criticized the Duterte administration's foreign policy after the President reiterated his personal view that the Philippines cannot do anything about China's claim in the disputed territories in the South China Sea, as he feared for a possibility of war.
An apparent rift between the two political allies seems to be growing between the two since Pacquiao opposed a meeting that pushed Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
Pacquiao, president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), earlier urged its members to ignore Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi's call for an assembly. But it was revealed that it was Duterte, the party's chairman, who instructed Cusi to lead the meeting.
The senator, one of the top prospects of PDP-Laban for the presidential elections in 2022, said in an interview with ABS-CBN's Karen Davila that being a president is "anointed by God", as reports that Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio will run for the top post and succeed her father, President Duterte, surfaced.
Pacquiao also expressed his concerns on Duterte's possible run for vice-president, saying it might not be good for the latter.
Despite issues with party mates, the senator has said he won't leave PDP-Laban and that he and Duterte still remain allies.