Senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday denied that there are extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the Duterte administration's drug war, as he spoke in one of the world's most prestigious universities about his experience in the legislature.
In an open forum after a speech at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom, the boxer-politician, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, said many drug suspects ended up dead because they chose to fight back with arresting officers.
President Duterte has, on many occasions, urged cops to use force
if drug suspects put up violent resistance.
The senator also hinted that he is open to running for the presidency in 2022 after Duterte steps down. He added, however, that he is not giving this a serious thought at this time.
Pacquiao said it was more intimidating to face a group of students belonging to a prestigious academic institution that produces global leaders than face a foe in the boxing ring.
He also confessed that he hated politicians before he engaged in boxing, but he was constrained to enter politics because his earnings as a boxer were not enough to help people, especially rural folk.
"Politics will never be my comfort zone. But public service is my clarion call. My compassion for the plight of my people is what motivated me to enter the world of public service in 2010 as a representative of Sarangani in the Philippine Congress," he said.
In crafting laws, Pacquiao said there is no better guide than the pulse of the masses deeply rooted in his personal adversities in life.
"As a legislator, I am waging war against modern-day slavery, supporting the cause of my fellow athletes, pushing for better healthcare services, and building more resilient communities," said Pacquiao, a first-term senator.
For the boxing legend, his education was non-traditional, non-formal and largely unstructured, anchored on what he calls the open university of life.
"I have not experienced how it is to pursue a degree like a regular university student. My circumstances were very different from yours," said Pacquiao.
"But I did not allow these circumstances to limit me. I worked on and finally received my degree through the Alternative Learning System. More importantly, I continue to learn from the university called life," said the boxer, who dropped out of high school to work in his youth and finished in 2007 through an equivalency test. -- report from Danny Buenafe, ABS-CBN News