MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Wednesday advised Senator Manuel “Manny” Pacquiao to stop criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte.
During his commentary show “Counterpoint,” Panelo told Pacquiao that finding fault with Duterte would not work to his advantage.
Panelo gave the advice amid Pacquiao’s supposed plan to run for president in 2022.
“Ang sinasabi, tatakbo siyang presidente (There’s a rumor that he would run for president),” he said. “Ang payo ko sa’yo Senador Manny Pacquio eh huwag ka nang sumali diyan sa mga kasama mong senador na wala nang nakitang maganda kasi bumabanat ka (My advice to you, Senator Manny Pacquiao, do not join other senators who always criticize [Duterte].) I’m saying this because you are criticizing him).”
Pacquiao on Monday expressed dismay over Duterte’s alleged weak stance on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue.
Despite this, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said there is no falling out between Pacquiao and Duterte.
Pacquiao currently serves as the president of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling party Duterte chairs.
Not yet his time
Also on Monday, Pacquiao refused to confirm if he is gunning for presidency next year, saying it is improper to talk about his political plan amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Panelo, however, said it is not yet time for Pacquiao to seek the highest post in the country.
“Senator Manny, gaya nang sinabi ko sa inyo, this is not your time (Senator Manny, I am telling you, this is not your time),” he said.
Still, Panelo told Pacquiao that he would never lose his popularity.
“‘Yung sinasabi mo na ‘pag hindi ka tumakbo, mawawala na yung kasikatan mo, hindi totoo ‘yun. Palagi ka ng sikat. Legend ka nga eh (It’s not true that you will lose your popularity if you do not tun. That’s not true. You are always popular. You are even a legend),” he said.
Panelo said Duterte, his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and his former long-time aide Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go are the only personalities that will stand out in the 2022 national elections.
“Ito ang panahon ni Mayor Sara o ni Senador Bong Go at ni Presidente Duterte pa rin. Hindi pa ninyo panahon. Meron pa sigurong darating na panahon (It is the time of Mayor Sara, Senator Bong Go, and President Duterte. It is not yet the time of others. You have to wait for your turn),” he said.
Sara is the top pick among the preferred presidential candidates in the 2022 national and local elections, based on the February 22 to March 3 pre-election poll conducted by Pulse Asia.
Pacquiao secured the fourth spot, while Go ranked sixth in the Pulse Asia survey. (PNA)