MANILA – Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is free to present evidence to substantiate his claim that corruption in government remains rampant, Malacañang said on Thursday.
“Well, pabayaan po natin si Senator Pacquiao kung ano ang gusto niyang isiwalat (Let Senator Pacquiao reveal what he wants to reveal). It’s a free country,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Roque issued the statement after Pacquiao vowed to release audio and video recordings to back his corruption claims against government offices.
Pacquiao said he will present the evidence when he gets back from the United States after his match with undefeated World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight Errol Spence Jr. on August 22 (August 21, US time).
Pacquiao is currently in the US to prepare his bout with Spence.
Before he flew to the US, Pacquiao claimed that corruption still persists under President Rodrigo Duterte’s watch and named the departments of social welfare, health, energy and environment as corrupt-ridden government agencies.
On July 15, Pacquiao also filed a resolution seeking a Senate investigation into the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s allegedly missing PHP10.4 billion in funds earmarked for the social amelioration program intended to provide financial aid to the poor amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Duterte, piqued by Pacquiao’s corruption allegations, has since launched verbal tirades against the boxer-senator.
Duterte has also vowed to campaign against Pacquiao, who is eyeing presidency in 2022, in case the latter fails to show evidence to prove his claim about rampant corruption in government.
Despite Pacquiao’s strained ties with Duterte, Roque still wished the boxing icon luck in his upcoming fight with Spence.
“Pero sa ngayon po, kaisa niya ang isang buong Pilipinas in wishing him good luck sa paparating na laban niya (For now, we are one with the entire Philippines in wishing him good luck in his upcoming fight),” Roque said.
Pacquiao’s close ally, Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, on Tuesday demanded an apology from Duterte for issuing expletive-laced remarks against the boxer-senator.
Roque, however, said on the same day there is no need for Duterte to apologize to Pacquiao because the Chief Executive is merely exercising his free speech. (PNA)