When he returns to the Philippines after his fight with American Errol Spence next month, Sen. Manny Pacquiao said he would reveal more about the massive graft and corruption in the Duterte administration.
The boxer-turned-lawmaker said he had documentary, as well as video evidence to prove his claim that corruption had worsened under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, even as he said that he was only helping the President.
As he has told local media on several occasions, “I just want to make it clear. I am not attacking the President. I only want to help in his campaign to curb corruption.”
Before leaving for the US to train for his August 21 fight against Spence, Pacquiao revealed what he called multi-billion-peso corruption under the Duterte administration, including a missing PHP10.4 billion (about US$212.245 million) in pandemic aid entrusted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
He accused the DSWD of entering into an illicit contract with e-wallet app Starpay to disburse funds for the government’s social amelioration program but around 1.3 million beneficiaries were not able to receive the financial assistance.
It was the latest in Pacquiao’s attacks against the Duterte administration, where alleged corrupt practices “tripled” compared to previous administrations.
He also said the Department of Health (DOH) was engaged in such corrupt practices as purchasing nearly expired medicines at regular prices, when they are usually donated by the manufacturers or sold at huge discounts.
Several administration and opposition senators had been calling for the resignation of Health Sec. Francisco Duque since last year for what they said was his incompetence and gross negligence.
Pacquiao then accused the Department of Energy of authorizing a private entity to serve as power stock market operator to the detriment of other players in the energy field.
He said the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines went from an insignificant company with authorized capital stock of PHP7,000 (US$143) “into an instant billion-peso company in just one year.”
He added that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources was engaged in questionable practices but did not elaborate.
The previous close ties between the President and the Senator took a turn for the worse over the weekend when PDP-Laban – the party that propelled the former Davao mayor to the presidency and where Duterte serves as chairman – ousted Pacquiao as president and replaced him with Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi.
Since Pacquiao first said last month that corruption had worsened under Duterte, the President has been taking potshots at the Senator.
The President said the Senator had become “punch drunk,” and should not speak on matters he has little knowledge.
Duterte also noted the frequent absences of Pacquiao at Senate sessions.
“Go to work,” the President advised the Senator, “You asked for that. The documents are there, start investigating. Comply first with your duty as senator. Do not be an absentee.”
Duterte said Pacquiao’s presidential ambition was the reason he had gone “berserk” with his unfounded accusations, saying “there is corruption here, there is corruption there.”
The President said Pacquiao should wait for his party to declare him as their presidential bet in next year’s elections.
Reporting for work “one or two months” a year was proof that the Senator was not doing his homework where his blanket accusations were concerned, said Duterte.
The President, however, said he would tell the Cabinet secretaries mentioned by Pacquiao to cooperate with any Senate probe.
Pacquiao said in a Zoom conference last week that he would ask the Senate Blue Ribbon committee to investigate his accusations of wrongdoing against the various departments and their heads.