MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday told Sen. Manny Pacquiao that being a champion in the boxing ring "doesn’t mean to say you are a champion in politics," further fanning a word war between the pair, who were once close allies.
The feud erupted on Monday, after Duterte threatened to expose Pacquiao as a "liar" if the lawmaker failed to prove his claim that the government is 3 times more corrupt than previous administrations.
Duterte said the health department, which Pacquiao named as a corrupt agency, has forwarded accounts of loans and pandemic expenses to the senator.
"So maghanap pa si Pacquiao ng iba. Siya yong may sabi may corruption, so it is his burden to identify the office," the President said in a press conference.
(Pacquiao should find something else. He is the one who alleged there is corruption.)
"You know, when you are a champion in boxing, it doesn’t mean to say you are a champion in politics," he added. "He’s blubbering his mouth, tapos na. I am waiting for his word, for the next department that he will choose to investigate."
Earlier in the day, Pacquiao said he was not attacking Duterte but is instead supporting the latter's anti-corruption campaign when he spoke of corrupt practices in government.
Duterte is chairman of PDP-Laban, while Pacquiao is acting President.
PACMAN A 'GONER'?
Duterte went on to claim that Pacquiao "has a scheduled fight, but suddenly nag-back out."
(He backed out.)
"Probably he knows that he is too old for that, and failing in his boxing career, kung matalo siya (if he loses), he’s a goner actually," the President said.
Duterte then linked Pacquiao's corruption claims to the 2022 elections.
Referring to his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is being pushed to run for president by some groups, the Chief Executive said, "Si Inday wala pa. Nirendahan namin yong kabayo namin."
(Inday is not yet--we reined our horse in.)
"Suddenly, maybe he (Pacquiao) could not wait for the announcement that PDP will go for him, ayon nagwala, nagsabi corruption dito, corruption doon," said Duterte.
(He went berserk, claiming corruption here, corruption there.)
"He has been with government for so long a time as a senator. My question to Pacquiao is, bakit ngayon ka lang nagsalita? At bakit umatras ka doon sa boxing?" he said.
(Why speak only now? And why did you back out of the boxing match.)
It was not immediately clear which fight Duterte was referring to.
He told Pacquiao, "Do not go anywhere, finish and find out the corruption that you are talking about."
"Kung mag-report ka lang dalawa [beses] sa isang buwan, I would say that you are a s***. A s*** is a s***. Magtrabaho ka. Hiningi mo ‘yan, and’yan ‘yong mga papel, start investigating. Do not go elsewhere. Comply first with your duty as a senator... Huwag kang paabsent-absent."
(If you just report for work twice in a month, I would say you are a s***... Work. You asked for that, the documents are there, start investigating... Don't be absent.)
More details to follow.