Duterte ally claims Pacquiao offered P400M to join LP slate

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – A supporter of presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed that world boxing champion-turned solon Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was offered P400 million to join the Liberal Party’s (LP) senatorial lineup.

In his article titled “Pacquiao’s fortitude: Pacman refused P400-M offer to Join LP Slate” posted on his Facebook Page, columnist Manny Piñol said Pacquiao told him that LP approached the boxer and invited him to join their party while offering money as “campaign funds.” Piñol said that this occurred during the time when political parties are still trying to form their senatorial slate.

"Una P300-M ang offer sa akin tapos ayusin daw nila ang kaso ko sa BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue). Noong sinabi ko ayaw ko, tinaas ng P400-M," Piñol quoted Pacquiao as saying in his article.

Piñol said Pacquiao declined the offer and refused to join the LP and instead joined the opposition party, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) led by Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay.

The decision, Pacquiao said, was due to the advice of his former legal counsel Franklin “Jeng” Gacal, who disclosed to Piñol that the senatorial candidate had an embarrassing experience during his oathtaking as a new member of the LP in 2012.

Gacal told Piñol that LP asked him to persuade Pacquiao to join its party and when he was able to convince the solon and he was about to take an oath at the LP headquarters, the oathtaking was postponed since his political opponents blocked his entry to LP.

The solon’s lawyer also said Pacquiao cannot be bribed.

"Alam mo naman si Manny, maski anak ng mahirap 'yan, hindi mo kayang silawin ng pera yan. Talagang may prinsipyo yan," Piñol quoted Gacal in his article.

Aside from UNA, Piñol said since Pacquiao is a long-time supporter of Duterte, he also considered joining Duterte’s slate. Even when he became a member of UNA, Pacquiao tried to persuade the then hesitant candidate to run until the eve of the last day of filing of certificate of candidacy.

However, since Duterte decided not to file his certificate of candidacy, Pacquiao chose UNA and publicly declared his support for Binay but also told Piñol that he is happy if Duterte still wins as the country’s president.

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