MANILA – Malacañang on Monday dismissed as “trivial” Senator Manny Pacquiao’s claim that there are at least four government agencies—namely the departments of Social Welfare, Health, Energy, and Environment— involved in corrupt practices.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque compared Pacquiao’s allegations to a “watusi” or the dancing firecracker ignited through friction or scratching on a hard surface.
“Akala ko atom bomb, yun pala watusi. Wala po, walang kuwenta kasi puro generalized allegations po. Walang bill of particulars, walang specific instance, walang ebidensya, wala man lang follow-up (I thought it would be an atom bomb, it’s just a watusi. Nothing, it’s trivial because they’re all generalized allegations. There’s no bill of particulars, no specific instance, no evidence, no follow-up),” he said.
He said Pacquiao failed to back up his claim with evidence, noting that his colleague, Senator Richard Gordon, also questioned Pacquiao’s call for a probe when he would not be present for the investigation.
“Gaya nga po sinabi ni Senator [Richard] Gordon, paano naman ‘yan? Magpapaimbestiga siya sa Senado pero wala yung proponent. Sino magtatanong (Just like what Senator Gordon said, what would be the case? He would call for an investigation in the Senate but the proponent is absent. Who’s going to ask questions)?” he added.
On Saturday, the boxer-senator flew out to Los Angeles, US to prepare for his fight with another undefeated fighter, Errol Spence, in August. Pacquiao is aiming for Spence’s World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation bantamweight crowns.
“Dapat po ayusin muna ang trabaho niya bilang isang senador, patunayan ang kanyang mga paratang dahil kung hindi po, pulitika lang po talaga ang pinagsasabi ni Senator Pacquiao (He should do a better job as senator and prove his allegations because if he can’t, it’s just politics),” Roque said.
Roque said the decision on whether or not to proceed with the proposal for the Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate corruption allegations would depend on Pacquiao.
“Na kay Senator Pacquiao po ‘yan dahil kabahagi ng kanyang responsibilidad bilang senador. Pero hindi naman niya magagampanan dahil umalis siya ng bansa (It would depend on Senator Pacquiao because it’s part of his responsibility as senator. But he won’t be able to fulfill his duty because he flew out of the country). Absent,” he said.
He renewed his call for Pacquiao to submit evidence that would prove his allegations if he was really sincere in trying to help rid the government of corruption.
“Napakadali po ng salita, laway lang ‘yan. Nasaan po ang pruweba? Nasaan po ang mga dokumento? Sana po isumite niya kung mayroon dahil ang Presidente naman, di sinasabing tuluyang nawala ang corruption. Ang ayaw niya yung parang kinukunsinti niya ang korapsyon, hindi po ‘yan totoo (It’s so easy to talk, it’s just saliva. Where’s the proof? Where are the documents? I hope he would submit them because the President never said that he has eliminated corruption. What he doesn’t want is as if he is implying that he tolerates corruption, that’s not true),” he added.
Meanwhile, Roque thumbed down Pacquiao’s request for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, stressing that he was not sure whether there was anything left for him and the President to talk about.
“Di ko po alam kung ano pa ang paguusapan nila ni Presidente. E nauna na po siyang nagbitaw ng mga salita sa media. So kung talagang gusto niyang makipag-usap kay Presidente, dapat hindi niya muna inuna ang media (I don’t know what else he and the President have to talk about. He decided to release statements to media first. If he really wanted to talk to the President, he should not have spoken to the media),” he said.
Last week, Duterte implied that Pacquiao’s corruption allegations stemmed from the fact that he was impatient to be named as the presidential bet of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan. (PNA)