Malacañang sees no reason for President Rodrigo Duterte to apologize to Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella said that Duterte should apologize for his jokes with Pacquiao.
Roque said everything the President said was part of the free expression of thoughts.
“Wala pong dahilan para po mag-apologize. Lahat po iyan ay kabahagi ng free market place of ideas,” said Roque.
Both Duterte and Pacquiao are members of the PDP-Laban, but there was a rift in their organization when the senator slapped the administration for corruption.
Pacquiao said corruption worsened during the Duterte era.
On the other hand, the President believes that Pacquiao cannot only wait for the party’s endorsement for the 2022 elections.
Duterte also challenged Pacquiao to release the list of officials and offices he says are corrupt.
Duterte will not apologize to Pacquiao – Roque
“I think he is talking about P10 billion from nowhere… Papayag ba naman ako? Papayag ba kami? Mga secretary ng departamento na ganoon na may mawala na P10 billion?” Duterte said in his weekly address to the nation.
“That is a statement coming from a guy that is punch-drunk, lasing,” the president added.
He also opened Senator Manny Pacquiao’s former tax problem. But the president clarified that he has no plans to sue the senator over the matter.
The President claimed that Pacquiao’s alleged tax liability allegedly amounted to P2.2 billion at the PDP-Laban meeting.
“I do not talk about the others… Ito lang si Pacquiao because out of the blue he blurted out na corrupt, so I am forced to… By the way, mayroon akong… I remember he has a tax evasion case,” he said.
“He has been assessed to pay P2.2 billion ang utang niya na hindi niya nabayaran [buwis] ang gobyerno,” he added.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao said that political opponents are deliberately harassing him to divert his attention from preparing for the fight against Errol Spence Jr. to beat and embarrass him.