Pacquiao denies vote-buying
Senator Manny Pacquiao, his wife Jinkee and the senator’s running mate, House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza, visited Batangas province Thursday, not just to court the support of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, the provinces local executives and Church leaders, but also to distribute aid to the victims of calamities in the area.
Interviewed Friday, Pacquiao confirmed that his camp distributed rice, groceries, and P1,000 to around 7,000 beneficiaries in the area.
"Sa dami ng taong pumunta, talagang makikita mo na talagang nangangailangan sila ng tulong at nagugutom," Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao defended their activity after Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that the agency will investigate a candidate's Batangas activity after receiving reports that healthy safety protocols were violated in that event.
Pacquiao said police helped them in ensuring that everyone was following health protocols.
"In fact yung mga pulis natin may placard ng social distancing. Pinaalalahanan natin sila na para makatulong tayo sa gobyerno, ay sumunod tayo sa protocol na pinapatupad ng IATF. It happened lang talaga na sa dami ng taong pumunta… dun mo makikita na hirap na hirap ang mga tao. Nagugutom sila. Kailangan nila," Pacquiao pointed out.
Pacquiao meantime addressed allegations that he was engaging in vote-buying this early.
The retired boxing icon said he has been doing charitable work since year 2002.
"Yung pamimigay ng pera at bigas, 2002 ko pa ginagawa yan. Noon hanggang ngayon, may eleksyon man o walang eleksyon, talagang habit ko nang mamigay pag nakita ko nang maraming nangangailangan, nagugutom. Anong gusto nila, mamigay ako ng pera o magnakaw ako?" Pacquiao said.
The first-term senator is running for President in next year’s elections.
If he wins the presidency, Pacquiao vowed to continue providing free housing and scholarship programs for the indigent.
He also promised to revive the country’s economy through better businessconfidence and the imprisonment of corrupt public officials.
Pacquiao has also committed to support the International Criminal Court’s investigation of current President Rodrigo Duterte.
However, PDP-Laban-Cusi Wing’s Secretary-General Melvin Matibag merely laughed off Pacquiao’s pronouncements.
"We respect always the position of Senator Pacquiao, bagamat dun po sa sinabi nya me condition eh. Dapat manalo po muna sya na president," Matibag said.
Pacquiao said he will not back out of the presidential race.
"Either aatras or magpapatuloy, basta magtutulungan kami pagdating ng panahon.. Nasa kanila yun kung mag-desisyon sila na huwag nang ipagpatuloy, ibigay yung pagsuporta ay mas maganda rin yun… pag natapos ang eleksyon, support naman kami sa programa namin kaya sinasabi namin magsusuportahan," Pacquiao said.