President Rodrigo Duterte will not apologize to Senator Manny Pacquiao after dishing out one tirade after the other against the Filipino boxing icon that culminated in his ouster as party president of the ruling PDP-Laban.
“There is no reason to apologize,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who is not a member of PDPLaban but is in the initial list of possible senatorial bets for the 2022 elections.
“Everything that the President has said is part of the free market of ideas,” he added.
Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella earlier demanded an apology from Duterte for his verbal tirades against the senator, who is now in the United States to prepare for his fight against Errol Spence Jr. next month.
Puentevella, a close ally of Pacquiao, said Duterte “owes” Pacquiao an apology for insulting the lawmaker.
Duterte earlier accused Pacquiao of being “punch-drunk” or exhibiting symptoms of confusion or being stupefied after the senator accused the government of losing at least P10.4 billion in public funds due to corruption.
“Pacquiao is punch-drunk – you all have your cell phones so I will leave it up to you to look up its definition. To be talking about P10 billion lost from nowhere – You think COA [Commission on Audit] will allow this? You think we will allow this? That is a statement from a guy who is punch-drunk,” he said.
During Saturday’s PDP-Laban meeting that saw Pacquiao’s removal as party president, Duterte described the senator as one who “does not know anything.”
“He does not even read. Pacquiao just follows whatever he is told to do,” the President said.
No resources for a ‘decent’ run
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday said she has no resources for a “decent” presidential campaign.
She said the situation was starkly different when she ran for vice president in 2016 as she was an administration candidate then.
“The infrastructure was there…the [Liberal] party was there,” she said in a television interview.
But with the “state of the party now,” Rebredo said she does not have the resources to mount a “decent presidential campaign.”
“I want to be prepared,” she said in explaining the factors that she is weighing before deciding whether or not to run for president next year.