Pacquiao ally calls for support, unity for boxing champ amid criticisms ahead of fight

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 14 2021 08:47 PM

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MANILA - A close friend of Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday appealed to the public to stop throwing criticisms at the lawmaker and support him instead as the boxer's fight nears. 

In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Monico Puentevella, president of the Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, said Pacquiao offers his "blood and sweat" in the boxing ring to make the Philippines proud. 

Puentevella also appealed to government officials, especially President Rodrigo Duterte, to stop attacking him regarding his supposed half-baked independent corruption probe in the government, as the lawmaker would tell more when he returns to the country after his fight.

Pacquiao's welterweight bout against Errol Spence Jr. is slated on August 21 in Las Vegas.

"Ating mga kababayan, Mr. President, ang ating kapatid nagpapakamatay sa ring. Dugo, pawis, malaki ang karangalan ang ibinigay niya sa Pilipinas. Hinamon mo siya na magpalabas ng isyu ng korapsyon, nagalit ka pero hanggang ngayon... ginagalang ka po ni senador," Puentevella said. 

(Our countrymen, Mr. President, our brother is fighting hard in the ring. He offers his blood and sweat just to give pride to the Philippines. You challenged him to bring out the issues of corruption in the government, but you got angry instead. Despite that, Manny respects you.)

Pacquiao only accepted Duterte's challenge to name names on the alleged rampant corruption in the government, said Puentevella.

Before he left the country for his training in the United States, the senator alleged that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is yet to account some P10.4 billion worth of missing funds in the government's COVID-19 cash aid program.

He also claimed that the Department of Health is buying nearly-expired medicines, which is why some Filipinos cannot use it once it reaches them. 

The DSWD and the health department have denied the allegations. 

"Binabastos mo siya, minumura mo, hindi siya sumasagot ng kabastusan. Ang gusto sana lang ng ating 'Pambansang Kamao,' ipagdasal natin siya sa laban niya para sa Pilipinas. Walang ninakaw 'yon kung sabihin mong nagsinungaling. Hindi siya nagsinungaling, sinagot niya lang ka (sic)" Puentevella said, addressing Duterte.

(You disrespected him and cursed him. He didn't answer those. Our boxing champ only wants prayers and unity for his fight. He did not steal anything, he did not lie. He just answered you.)

Duterte, during his taped address to the nation earlier this week, said Filipinos should not believe Pacquiao's corruption claims, describing him a "punch drunk."

Earlier, the President also raised a tax case that the latter fought as boxing superstar.

Prior to his allegation of continuing corruption in government, Pacquiao criticized the administration's "lacking" approach toward China on the South China Sea issue. The two matters are among issues included in Duterte's 2016 presidential campaign platform.

The word war between Duterte and Pacquiao, who were once close allies, worsened after the former was urged by their party mates in PDP-Laban to seek the vice presidency next year and choose his running mate. Pacquiao, the party's acting president, is rumored, meanwhile, to be eyeing the country's top post.


Puentevella said Pacquiao will raise more issues in the future and will finish his probe.

He lamented possible moves that PDP-Laban, of which Duterte is chairman, would remove Pacquiao and Sen. Koko Pimentel as members. 

An official supposedly expelled by PDP-Laban earlier in the day said that while the party's national assembly by the end of the week aims to elect new officers, removing members is out of the agenda. 

At least two-thirds vote among party members will be needed to remove someone from PDP as part of the "process," PDP-Laban Secretary-General Melvin Matibag explained.

"Sabi mo (Duterte), ilabas ang korapsyon. Nilabas niya ang korapsyon. Pero ang problema, hinahabol siya ng training. Pagbalik niya po, I will guarantee to you, blow by blow, sasagutin niya lahat ng gusto mo," Puentevella said. 

(You told him to disclose what he knows about corruption. He did. But the problem is he had to train. When he comes back, I assure you that he will answer everything you want to know.)

Puentevella said the attacks against Pacquiao could be due to his intention to run for president next year.

"Sana, kung gusto niyo tumakbo si Sara (Duterte-Carpio), marami kayo, meron naman [siyang] Hugpong. 'Wag niyo naman ipahiya yung tao (Pacquiao) kasi yung tao, nagpapawis, dugo-dugo, hindi magnanakaw yun, nagbibigay ng pera sa mga mahihirap," Puentevella said.

(If you wanted Sara to run, she already has Hugpong. Please do not embarrass Pacquiao because he is working hard. He did not steal anything, he even gives money to the poor.)

Pacquiao is now heading to the second week of his training in the US.