World Boxing champ-turned-Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on May 3 strongly debunked claims his letters to US President Joe Biden and Chinese ambassador Huan Xilian were moves to spotlight his run for President in 2022.
In a Zoom interview with Senate reporters, Pacquiao rejected accusations by critics that he was hijacking international issues and contacting world leaders in a bid for visibility in the 2022 elections.
“My effort, I did not reveal it to the public. I merely wanted to help our country,” insisted Pacquiao.
It is public knowledge that the Mindanao senator intends to run for president as President Rodrigo Duterte’s term expires in June next year.
Pacquiao neither confirmed nor denied this but explained his letter to China was sent two weeks before the resolution of the senators condemning the latest Chinese intrusion over the Philippine maritime territories. He said he wrote to the Chinese ambassador as a public servant.
Pressed anew about his apparent plan to run for President, the Senator stressed “running for the position is always up to and anointed by God.”
“If God puts me in that position, I will do my job. If God will put me there, believe me, the happy days of thieves in the government will be over. Iyan ang itaga sa bato ng mga kawatan diyan,” Pacquiao said.
According to the Senator, he wrote Biden because of the delay in the delivery of anti-Covid vaccines from the United States. He said he appealed to the US President to help expedite the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
Pacquiao said he has gotten no response but some Filipino-Americans connected to the White House are helping his letter get to Biden.
“’Di naman sa inuunahan ko ang ating Pangulo. Gawin natin lahat ng tulong para sa ating mga kababayan,” said Pacquiao.
Stressing he does not need to hog the limelight, Pacquiao said what he needs is an immediate response to the increasing Covid cases in the Philippines.
Pacquiao said his letter to Biden appealed for the quicker delivery of at least half of the 20 million Moderna COVID vaccines that the Philippines bought.
The US Ambassador to the Philippines John Law acknowledged the Senator’s letter to Biden but did not make any promises in terms of the request.
According to the Senator, “I talked to Ambassador Romualdez” to perhaps leverage his fame to expedite delivery of the vaccines.
Regarding his letter to the Chinese Ambassador, the Senator said this was about his growing concern over the continuous incursion of 220 Chinese vessels at Julian Felipe Reef.
The Senator confirmed that the Chinese ambassador replied through an informal text message to PDP Laban Director Ron Munsayac.
“Hoping that our differences will not affect our exchanges in cooperation” Pacquiao read a portion of the ambassador’s message.
“China, the Chinese people, Chinese ambassador, they are our friends. We like friendship. But they should also respect our rights,” emphasized the Senator.